Ding-Dong. Who’s There? The Safety Police!

That’s what’s happening in England, folks: A new proposal to have safety experts go into families’  homes to make sure they’re utterly safe, right down the stair guards. Woe to the family that babyproofs in a manner not approved by the state!

Here’s the Times OnLine article risaydafyk
about the new guidelines, and here’s a comment someone posted that I especially enjoyed:

[The article said that] “About 100,000 children are admitted to hospital each year for home injuries at a cost of £146m.”

I’m delighted to hear that. It indicates that at least 100,000 of the next generation will still be willing to take risks and behave uninhibitedly. It’s the other 10,000,000 I worry about, the ones who will be taught never to go out in the rain in case they catch a cold.

It’s not that Free-Range Kids rejects all safety measures. Are you kidding? Safety is GOOD. I personally love window guards and I put latches on my cabinets when my kids were younger. But I, for instance, think toilet locks are a waste of money. What if the government disagrees? What if I think it’s my job to teach the kids not to open the oven, but the government believes I ought to invest in some oven guards? And what if the government ends up endorsing baby knee pads? (Maybe that’s good because that way, when I feel like banging my head against a baby’s knee in utter frustration, neither of us will get hurt.)  — Lenore

, ,

54 Responses to Ding-Dong. Who’s There? The Safety Police!

  1. Tracy Lucas November 19, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    THIS is just Gestapo, and a frightening abuse of power in the highest sense.

    Totally ridiculous… how can it be legal to implement anywhere!?

    None of their d**n business. NONE.


  2. shortylion November 19, 2009 at 5:17 am #

    It’s so good to know that all the world’s problems have been solved and this is all the government has to worry about.


    This is what happens when you live in a society that trades liberty for “protection”. In places like England where you have more and more the “cradle to grave” welfare mentality, then you are going to have more and more encroachment by the government into your personal life. It will continue to happen here to, because on one hand you do have people say “hey g’vt, get off my backs” and their next sentence is “hey g’vt! Pay for more stuff for me!! I need more stuff and YOUR going to pay for it!” Why shouldn’t the government have a say in your life, if they are the one footing the bill?

  3. Jan S November 19, 2009 at 5:45 am #

    That’s probably true shortylion. The government feels justified because they are paying for everything.

    Speaking of intrusive, the hospital where I work as a nurse has installed a camera in every room of one of the units. It’s a trial run to see if they can reduce falls. Reducing falls in one of the big safety goals of the Joint Commission. Medicare won’t pay any expenses resulting from a patient fall now. It’s creepy. Of course the nurses figure it’s to keep an eye on staff actions and prevent legal liability for the hospital.

    Brave New World, here we come.

  4. Sky November 19, 2009 at 5:57 am #


    America is headed there soon enough. The revolution just kept us 20 years behind the socialist curve.

  5. KarenW November 19, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    So they will not be satisfied until absolutely no children are injured, ever? My reaction to “100,000 children are hospitalized every year…” is SO WHAT? We’re not talking about deaths, just injuries that are a very normal part of growing up. How many of us never had an accident as a kid that brought us to the emergency room?

  6. Annika November 19, 2009 at 6:09 am #

    Well, thank goodness I don’t live in England. I never babyproofed anything except for a few cabinets, and even that may have been unnecessary. I would be in Big Trouble, I guess.

  7. Kenny Felder November 19, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    Is the government wrong? And if so, why?

    “Because it’s none of their business how I baby-proof my home, that’s why!”

    OK, then let’s keep going. What if you keep open cannisters of poison on the floor to kill rats, but you have an unsupervised baby crawling around? How about a big gaping hole in the floor? An uncaged crocodile? Is there ANY point at which it would be dangerous enough to constitute parental neglect?

    If you answer “yes” at any point, then the issue is not “government interference” vs “personal liberty.” The issue, which for me is ALWAYS the issue, is one of statistics. A one-in-a-million chance of death is acceptable (even though it means some children will die), but a one-in-ten is not.

    But arguing about numbers isn’t nearly as much fun as arguing about principles, is it?

  8. Blotz November 19, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    Some excellent displays of the “Slippery Slope Fallacy” here, good job.
    Because it’s inevitable that a government that chooses to provide a social safety net for its people will eventually start bashing peoples doors down to “protect” them. It’s an inescapable conclusion, right? Happens everywhere,every time, right?
    I don’t know why The Brits have gone cuckoo all the sudden. I’m sure it’s much more complicated than we are lead to believe by headlines and I’m positive that there’s more to it than a load of teabagging nonsense about “nanny states” and “cradle to grave welfare”.
    We don’t do Free Ranging any favors by encouraging sloppy thinking folks.

  9. dar205 November 19, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    Great, puddles in the bathroom because the older child can’t use the toilet due to the safety guard.

  10. kari-m November 19, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    ♫ I say we can come in, into your house
    Everything out of your control
    To see if you’re a risk
    We’re checking you from wall to wall
    Safe dance ♫

  11. Jacquelyn November 19, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    Oh my heavens that’s scary.

  12. Lisa November 19, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Great, we may just raise a whole generation of kids who are scared of toilets and ovens…

    I wonder what they’d think of my six year old making scrambled eggs and tea?

  13. owen59 November 19, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    Two takes on this:
    1. All my three sons had open head wounds between ages 18 months and 12 year old. Myself I have a scar I carry on my forehead since my sister pushed me in the garden age 5. She grew up a staunch feminist and I love my scar and my sister.
    2. I work in the injury area of health (physiotherapy). From occupational health we know that there are certain prescriptions that are important to make because failure will always be devastating and people can’t be expected to be experts enough to work it out for themselves. However, guidelines of principles are also important because everyone has different physical and psychological natures. Fundamental is awareness, communication, planning, communication, action, communication. Communication questions: what do we need to do? how can it be done? what are the risks? what is the trade off to risk ratio (BIG LIFE QUESTION)? how can we ameliorate the risk? etc.
    Rather than $ for paternal protection, spend on education of parents and children in communication, risk assessment (to take risk not to stop risk)

  14. Beth November 19, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    I never baby/toddler-proofed a thing in my house, other than the usual keeping the cleaning products up high, revising my decorating scheme, and the like. I just figured that repeated “no” and knowing what the kids were up to in my admittedly small house would be good enough, and it was.

    And if I’d ever had any thought of putting those lock thingys on all the cupboards, I was disabused of that when I went to a friend’s house and had to ask how to throw away my napkin. I couldn’t get the cupboard open to access the kitchen garbage….I don’t know why I was embarrassed, but I was.

  15. Judd November 19, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    If safety advocates are allowed to run amok, it’s only a matter of time before freedom and responsibility are taken away from parents with our “best interest” at heart.
    1. One group (backed by government wonks) gets to choose and impose it’s definition of safety on the whole population. (This group would be, no doubt, well connected with the safety device manufacturers.)
    2. The level of safety seems to be defined by the number of safety devices – gates, locks etc. Just because locks are installed, doesn’t mean that the house is safe. It has a lot more to do with the level of supervision.
    3. Threat to parents who don’t conform to guidelines. What punitive measures can be enacted.
    4. The thought that injuries will somehow disappear under this plan.
    5. Unintended consequences. This kind of initiative always has unintended consequences.

  16. montessorimatters November 19, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    I can see it now… A generation of kids who were never taught the dangers of ovens, and instead were buffered by oven door guards, are going to rent their first apartment, move out on their own, and promptly singe their eyebrows when they stick their heads in the oven.

    I guess it goes right alongside those 7-year olds who don’t know that glass breaks because they’ve always had sippy cups… And the list goes on…

  17. Cynthia November 19, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    It wasn’t until reading your blog that I realized parents used toilet latches as safety devices. Me, I went out and bought them the day I found my son playing in the toilet. Some things are just too gross for me to deal with every day.

  18. shortylion November 19, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    Blotz, no one mentioned anything about “teabagging” or anything in relation to tea, that’s all you. And it’s not sloppy thinking just because you decide it’s sloppy thinking.

  19. Marion November 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Let’s just wrap our children in bubble wrap until they go to college. *sigh*

    My youngest wasn’t even walking when he learned how to open all the baby locks on the cabinets. When ever my older son wanted to get into something, he went and got the baby. I removed the baby locks and just moved dangerous chemicals out of reach.

    It’s a wonder people still take their kids in cars, or have running water in their house, since those are two of the most common ways kids get killed. But no, people would rather worry baby might get a little bump, and buy padding to go around the coffee table and knee pads to protect their little knees.

  20. Bret November 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    “It’s an inescapable conclusion, right?”

    It’s not inescapable, but it is the logical conclusion. If the government spends money providing a social safety net, then it logically follows that steps will be taken to prevent people from drawing on that safety net.

    Take for instance the current healthcare debate. Now there are several arguments both for and against, however, one of the primary arguments in favor is that A.) the 40 Million+ uninsured are still using the the healthcare system, and B.) the costs of unpaid bills are being laid on the taxpayer (unofficial safety net). As result, the government seeks to involve itself more in the process, which, by definition, is an erosion of freedom. This is a completely logical thing for the government to do. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

    I say not inescapable because plenty of people disagree with that sort of logic. Now maybe in the case of healthcare some believe the protection (and the proposed cost savings) is worth the freedoms given up. One most decide individually how he feels about such things. The “teabaggers”, as you so tactfully deride, generally believe that very little, if any protections are worth the freedoms abandoned. That’s not nonsense, nor is it sloppy thinking, it’s simply a judgment call.

    “Happens everywhere,every time, right?”

    I think the entire 20th century gave us more than enough ammo to make these claims. Do you care to cite counterpoints?

  21. Alida November 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Could a child-safety lobby be far behind?

  22. Sujomi November 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    All I can think of is the Simpson’s episode “Bye, Bye Nerdie” when Homer goes on a crusade to make Springfield infant-safe.

    Homer: Now do you realize how unsafe the American home is? Baby accidents occur every three minutes.
    Marge: I’m the one who told you that.
    Homer: Yeah, but this is me talking. Look, I already encased the telephone in concrete. [points to the phone, which is encased in a two-foot thick concrete cube]
    Marge: How are you supposed to dial?
    Homer: Reach into these holes. I use a carrot. [holds one up]
    Marge: Isn’t that a little excessive? I mean, how are the buttons dangerous?
    Homer: Baby could order poison.
    Marge: Oh, that’s ridiculous.
    [Homer dials a number, then gives the receiver to Marge]
    PDS Man: Poison Delivery Service. A gift basket of poison is on its way.
    Marge: Oh, I’m horrible mother.
    Homer: Of course you are. Marge, I’ve finally discovered the reason God made me. To protect his tiniest, most breakable creatures. And I’ve got to share that gift with the world.

  23. Dawn November 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Well, can anyone say tea party? Just throw a bunch of baby knee pads, toilet locks and baby monitors in the channel and be done with it. However, God help us all, if here in the land of the free and the home of the brave someone suggests this. Has the world gone mad? Can anyone say Darfur? Aren’t children still starving in Africa? Don’t we have several wars on our hands right now? Isn’t the environment going to Hell in a handbasket? How does making sure each home in Jolly England has a baby gate even rate on the top 100 list of problems in the world?

  24. Dirk D November 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    The unfortunate thing is that this type of governmental intrusion is the logical step after a fully socialized health care system. You’ll notice that the article specifically mentioned how much the childhood accidents cost. In response to costs, the system starts looking for ways to save money on health care by promoting prevention. All well and good for things like hand-washing and respiratory etiquette (sneeze into your sleeve not your hands).

    Unfortunately, you can promote something like this kind of “safety” until you’re blue in the face, and if you want to save more money, you have to enforce the issue, something that only a government entity can do, which is what is happening here, regardless of parental rights to raise their own damn kids!

  25. WendyW November 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    How many of us have told our teens, or were told by our parents, “as long as I’m paying for your clothes you won’t wear… (insert offensive style here)”? Or cell phone usage, or car insurance, or …..

    This “safety” inspection is the same mentality. “I’m footing the bill, and I don’t want to pay for accidental injuries”. It will be followed by controlling our diets so they don’t have to pay for chronic illnesses, and encouraging euthanasia so they don’t have to pay for the huge expenses of the handicapped and elderly.

    This is exactly why we should NOT let government into our health care.

  26. ana blic November 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that the United States has the same sort of legislation …..

    It is part of the new health care bill … I saw this information – all over the place a month or so ago … Sorry I didn’t memorized it – or make a note of it.

    According to my memory – there is a portion of the bill that will allow Dept of Human Services to enter homes to check for “safety” — and they won’t need a warrant / or “just cause” — whatever that is. Considering that NOW – this agency seems to have more power than God … It is mind boggling that they will now be able to enter and take children as part of “health care” ….

    Their “cases” are heard – in secret courts – with no juries. Once this agency has your children (or grandchildren) — generally – they are GONE. To live a life in foster care — with federal funding dollars rolling in – per head.

    ASFA – and …. more and more celebrities who want children – are going onto talk shows – advocating for Adoption … The woman who starred in the Greek Wedding movie was on a show today …

    The general public assumes that all the children pictured in the ads for “donate a coat to the poor foster chidlren” … have been abused or are orrphans. this is NOT TRUE. Most of them have homes they could go home to – safe, loving homes.

    We are not all Ozzie and Harriet – or the Huxtables … some of us are less than that. But – we still do not deserve to lose our families…..

    This law – is coming to American soon.

    Also — of note – the Mother’s Law – that demands that Hospitals can call in DHS Agents – to decide if a mother is “safe enough” to take her baby home … THAT one – passed within the last six months.

    America is not immune — it is happening here. Right now.

  27. Hannah @amotherinisrael.com November 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    In Israel a nurse from the well-baby clinic used to come to the home of all new parents and check the cribs, supply cabinets, etc. I escaped because my first was born when we lived in the US. Don’t think they do this anymore.

  28. steve November 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    A few years ago I wondered if we would eventually be required to wear helmets inside cars. (And what comes after that? Body armor?

    I wrote state legislators asking if they would commit to NOT going along with such legislation IF it were introduced. Only one or two said they would never vote for something like that. Many were silent. And a couple accused me of trying to trick them. Not sure what they meant by that.

  29. Helen November 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Those of you who think the real reason for this idea is cost cutting for the National Health Service really don’t know much about the British Labour party. Of course they mention cost cutting – the UK is still in a recession and government finances are shot. But the Labour party are not really all about cost cutting, as the UK’s Conservatives will happily tell you.

    The motivator behind this and a lot of other safety/child legislation in Britain seems to be a desire to make childhood perfect so that they will grow into perfect adults (that’s simplistic but it’s what it boils down to). There seems to be a belief in the Labour party that you break the cycle of poverty, ensure full employment, lower crime and improve the environment (may be not that last one) by making sure everybody gets a good childhood.

    I don’t know if would work. There’s a lot of data that indicates bad childhoods leave people ill-equipped to be good adult citizens. So it may be a worthy goal and I certainly support politicians thinking about how they can make their citizens’ lives better on this sort of scale. I’m also behind the idea that the state owes children a degree of protection from truely bad parents. But I think the Labour party have gone about it in a way that is bound for failure, that ignores some of the fundamentals of human behavior around motivation and that takes a paint-by-numbers approach to what is “good” (which can lead to mediocre parenting at best). I also think they ignore the unintended consequences of their actions on families who aren’t “bad” and consequently they adversely impact children who don’t fall into their “poorly” parented categories.

    The UK authorities have been judging parents for quite a while. On moving here 4 months ago with two infants I was outraged to be told I “had to” have a home visit by a health visitor so she could “check it was safe”. But I don’t actually have to. And I declined. I was most outraged because health visitors were supposed to be *support* for parents, not some sort of parenting police. Sadly it seems this service has become another way to find “bad” parents and is no longer a universal way to provide *support* to all parents.

  30. Ben November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    The government has no right to decide how parents raise their children. Sure by all means, ensure they stay away from crime, but other than that — hands off the kids!

    If kids never get hurt, they never learn how to be careful without constant supervision to the point where mom needs to help look at rooms for university.

    Kids can take a few bumps; they’re not as fragile as the government makes them out to be.

  31. Ben November 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Dirk D said: “The unfortunate thing is that this type of governmental intrusion is the logical step after a fully socialized health care system.” I don’t know what you talk about there, Dirk. In the Netherlands everyone’s got health insurance and the government hasn’t even considered this as a logical thing to discuss (they’re rather raise the cost of travel by complicating public transport and introducing extra charging per kilometer on driving cars.)

    Kids learn from their mistakes, so proofing the house so it’s perfectly save isn’t going to help them. Besides, the most dangerous kid killer (roads) is still out there, and they’re not doing anything about that, are they?

    I’m considering emigrating to avoid governmental interference, but the amount of places I would be happy to go is rapidly declining. Perhaps I should consider moving to some old tribe in Papua New Guinea or Africa…

  32. Mrs Embers November 19, 2009 at 7:31 pm #

    I think spending government money to keep kids safe is a great idea- but I agree with those who say the key is making available education for parents re: risk assessment, etc., not a one-size-fits-all toilet-locking campaign.

    I don’t think intrusion of this magnitude follows naturally after government-funded healthcare, as many people are saying. Up here in the cold North, my kids or I can go to the doctor or the emergency room for any bump, bruise or illness, and it’s covered, but you know, I can’t remember the last time the government even suggested inspecting my home to make sure I wasn’t wasting their money.

    The only government employee who visited my house after each of my boys were born was the public health nurse, who left information on anything I was interested in, checked the babies’ cord stumps and made sure breastfeeding was going well. She didn’t even visit the kitchen or bathroom.

    I’m not saying the USA couldn’t follow in Englland’s footsteps- I’m just saying you CAN have a more universal health care system and not have Big Brother watching your every move.

  33. Spilt Milk November 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    We have home visits from a Maternal and Child Health Nurse here in Australia. She comes around within a week or two of the baby’s birth. She weighs baby, chats about any concerns with feeding and sleeping or anything else, and has a little look around the house. Checks that the baby has a safe area to sleep, reminds parents about not smoking and other SIDS prevention measures and gives out a home safety checklist as well as numbers for the Poisons Information Line and other useful emergency contacts. I actually think this is a wonderful service. It’s not meant to be intrusive (a home visit is much easier to deal with when you’ve just given birth than going somewhere) and in general, the nurses are supportive. And some people don’t read the statistics or have good parental role models so they may be unaware of hazards until someone points them out to them.
    Education is not the same as the Gestapo.
    I’m confused by the cognitive dissonance here – it seems that members of the public helping other people with their children = good, but people paid by the government providing a service to allow professionals to help people with their children = bad.
    Sure, if there were mandatory toilet locks I’d have a problem with that but I don’t think we’re talking about that, here.

  34. Helen November 19, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Split Milk – It’s difficult to know what we’re really talking about because it’s a shallow news report about a possible proposal. I think the reference to health and safety makes people suspect they’re talking about the Health and Safety Executive – a body with legal enforcement powers, but that’s probably unlikely. Also the reference to a database is a bit worrying given the government’s track record on data protection.

    I do think there has been a shift to some extent in the UK in what a lot of these services have as their main priority. And that’s my main fear with ideas like this. It adds up to reasonable parents having to be more concerned about being reported to social services than they’re concerned about something happening to their kids.

    The health visiting service in the UK used to be talked about with pride, but I can’t find one of my peers who thinks the visitors were worth having round. We’re all 30+ and pretty middle class. May be people like us would have found them equally unhelpful 20 years ago too. But from a couple of forums I’ve read it seems there has been a policy change so health visitors are now much more concerned with whether or not they need to “escalate” a case to social services rather than providing support or information any particular mother thinks she needs.

    I particularly objected to the presumption that I didn’t know how to look after my children and that they would know better. They didn’t ask if I wanted a check – I had asked if I could meet the health visitor elsewhere as we were staying with my inlaws – I was told they “had to” visit my home to “check it was safe”.

    There also seems to be, in the UK at least, a sense that there is an official “best way” to raise children. And, despite nods towards the value of kids gaining independence, it’s mostly a CYA approach. I think because it’s based on officials not wanting to be crucified in the press when something does occasionally go wrong.

    What I would have found useful for my kids would be developmental checks at key points in their lives – something that could use the nursing skills the health visitors have. But it seems they don’t do that in my area any more because they don’t have time. Maybe they’re too busy checking to see that everyone’s house is safe.

    I find it a little bit horrifying that a public agency in a democracy would start from a presumption that its citizens are generally incapable of doing a reasonable job of child rearing. And it bothers me that records could be kept on every little thing that I might do wrong and used against me in the future. It would make me much less happy about having anyone in my house. A bit like if there was no Dr/patient privilege people would be reluctant to let their Dr know about drug use or other relevant indiscretions that could harm them if they became public knowledge.

  35. pentamom November 19, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    Kenny, the problem with your argument is that the government STILL shouldn’t come into everyone’s homes to “make sure” they’re not keeping live alligators and open cans of poison in their kitchens. At least in the U.S., that’s “unreasonable search,” or ought to be.

    Though, I agree with those who say that when you start expecting the government to finance and protect every aspect of your physical health and safety, I suppose you have to accept their taking active responsibility for ensuring it. It’s logical enough, it’s just in conflict with the idea of political freedom.

  36. Lola November 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    @pentamom: Well, you expect the government to finance basic health when they take away half your salary for that pupose! The problem is that public health, if imposed, should not reject patients on any basis. Not if they’re obese, smokers, alcoholics, or anything. Public health cannot act like private insurance companies do, because every citizen is forced to pay for it, even if they choose to pay for their private insurance as well.
    I’m sorry, but I’m fed up with my country’s public health system. We have reached a point where transexual treatments are paid for by the general public, while I can’t get treatment for a tooth infection that could have serious consequences (dental is not included, you see).

  37. pentamom November 20, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    Well, sure, Lola, it’s a cycle. And I didn’t mean to imply that it’s legitimate for them to reject people if they don’t “measure up,” just that you sort of have to expect they’ll try to make people measure up, to the best of their ability. And apparently, that means coming to your house and telling you how to babyproof. But I’m not condoning it.

  38. sal November 20, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    My 11 month old figured how to open our first baby gate at 9 months and now has figured out the second one. They are kind of important to us since we live in a 3 story condo and he’s a sloppy climber.
    Maybe the British police can identify a baby gate that my son can’t open that will fit in our wide doorway.
    I doubt it.

  39. Angie November 20, 2009 at 1:34 am #

    This is crazed. :/ It’s not the government’s place to dictate any of this garbage. My mother never baby- or child-proofed her house, and my brother and I grew up just fine. My grandmother never child-proofed her house either. The result was that my brother and I learned not only to be safe on our own in our homes, but also to be safe in other people’s homes too. (And because neither my mother nor my grandmother childproofed in the sense of putting breakables up or away either, we didn’t run around trashing other people’s houses just because we could; we learned not to touch what wasn’t ours. Wow, what a concept.)


  40. E. Simms November 20, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    @ana blic “I’m surprised no one has mentioned that the United States has the same sort of legislation …..

    It is part of the new health care bill … I saw this information – all over the place a month or so ago … Sorry I didn’t memorized it – or make a note of it.

    According to my memory – there is a portion of the bill that will allow Dept of Human Services to enter homes to check for “safety” — and they won’t need a warrant / or “just cause” — whatever that is. Considering that NOW – this agency seems to have more power than God … It is mind boggling that they will now be able to enter and take children as part of “health care” ….

    Their “cases” are heard – in secret courts – with no juries. Once this agency has your children (or grandchildren) — generally – they are GONE. To live a life in foster care — with federal funding dollars rolling in – per head. ”

    This just isn’t true. Can you provide a link? This is just part of the vast rumor mongering coming from the anti-health legislation block.

  41. RobC November 20, 2009 at 4:11 am #

    I worry about the future of the UK when I hear stories like this. It seems to be turning into some bizarre nanny/police state.

    I’m reminded of the article I glimpsed the other day which discussed a 96-page manual given to UK police recently, describing in excruciatingly mind-numbing detail the correct procedure for the incredibly complex task of…riding a bicycle.

  42. RobC November 20, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    Dirk D:

    “The unfortunate thing is that this type of governmental intrusion is the logical step after a fully socialized health care system.”

    No it isn’t. I live in Australia, where we have had a “fully socialised” (I see what you did there, using a word that looks a lot like ‘socialist’, which everybody knows is just the same as Communist, which is EEEEVIL!!!) health care system for quite a long time now, and any government who proposed something like this would be voted out at the earliest opportunity.

    This ridiculous scheme hasn’t been put in place because you can go to the doctor in the UK without worrying about how/if your family is going to eat that week, it’s because the UK has, for some reason, been taken over by health and safety boffins.

  43. RobC November 20, 2009 at 4:27 am #


    ” It will be followed by controlling our diets so they don’t have to pay for chronic illnesses, and encouraging euthanasia so they don’t have to pay for the huge expenses of the handicapped and elderly.

    This is exactly why we should NOT let government into our health care.”

    Once again, I live in a country where we have government-funded health care, and THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED, nor is it about to. Please stop talking nonsense and propagating lies.

  44. Bret November 20, 2009 at 6:02 am #


    This sort of over-reach in Australia seems to currently only be focused on the “obvious” sins: tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. I’d claim that these things are no less important as a matter of individual choice than how to raise one’s children.

    Regardless, it’s just a matter of time before Australia starts to blur that line. And I’m disappointed that you’re naive enough to think democracy will save you.

    Just this week Australia is considering a bill to create the National Preventative Health Agency, with a mandate to “save lives and reduce healthcare costs” by “regulating alcohol, tobacco, and fast food.” Have fun trying to unelect THAT. Last I checked bureaucrats didn’t run for office.

  45. Into The Wild! November 20, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    None of that baby-proofing ever worked in my house. My daughter figured out how to open every one of them within a hour of me installing them (she was 6 months old at the time). Although when she found out what was behind those locks she became totally disinterested (no cookies) unless you count the pots and pans, and the big spoons in the drawers (Momma! A Brass Band… and Drum Sticks! Really BIG DRUM STICKS! Whoo-Hoo, I’m in Heaven!) Kept her busy for hours and I always knew where she was by the noise. Had to put a stop to it when she figured out to tie a string around the handles and marched out the back door. The neighbors were not amused.

    Let them try to enter my home to “check” for safety issues, my Second and Fourth Amendment Rights would be asserted faster than Obama’s submissive bow to the King of Saudi Arabia or the Emperor of Japan!

    (soapbox now available for the next occupant)

  46. RobC November 20, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    “…Obama’s submissive bow to the King of Saudi Arabia or the Emperor of Japan!”

    Oh dear. And you were doing so well.

    A bow in those cultures is a sign of respect, not submission. Perhaps if you Americans* weren’t so obsessed with constantly having to be number one in everything at all times (gee, insecure much?), you’d know that.

    *Yes, I know you’re not all like that.

  47. ana blic November 20, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    @E Sims. I’m not bashing the health care bill – It is in there – I’ve gotten emails about it. I’m sorry – I didn’t create a folder for that info – and I don’t have time to dig. The “gist” of it is – the Dept of Human Services people – would be mandated (expected?) to go to the homes of parents – much like this article says is currently going on in England. So much of what DHS is doing today – now – in the USA – might have been well intended initially – but it is now – more about job security for social workers / and covering the agency – protecting it from making a mistake. With the result – that the Agency is over-cautious in cases that don’t warrant it – and because they are being so overly zealous on THOSE cases, they miss cases where there is REAL imminent danger. They seem to lack discernment.
    one comment (re overly cautious workers) can be found in a link written by a social worker: google rich rigney oregonlive CYA — and you will come up with that piece. I’ll look for the info re the bit contained in the new legislation – re visits to all homes – that do not require previous judicial approval or cause. I got a slew of these and began to just delete – because it (for me) was old news.
    If I find one of them – or get a new one – I’ll post.
    Its not much different than what this Free Range piece is about re UK – except that it is also extended over to the US. Another good source – re how “child protection” has gone awry in this country – is Richard Wexler – he wrote a book titled WOUNDED INNOCENTS.

  48. Jan S November 20, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    That Obama bow thing was sooo blown out of proportion.

  49. Bret November 20, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Ha. here I was worried that my references to the healthcare bill would hijack this comment thread. Apparently bow-gate trumps all.

  50. Doug504 November 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    But who is going to check that the safety measures are safe?

    When I was 3 or 4 my parents installed a child safety gate at the top of the stairs so I couldn’t accidentally fall down.

    My brother later had a friend over and I was bugging them so they went upstairs to play. My brother closed the gate so I couldn’t follow.

    I was left on the wrong side of the safety gate bemoaning my fate when – you guessed it – I fell down the stairs.

  51. E. Simms November 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

    ana blic, Do you believe what’s said in every email you receive? If so, I have some from Nigeria that I will forward to you.

  52. sonya November 21, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    Don’t why every thinks America is the only place which allows freedom, when it’s the only country I know that doesn’t allow parents to give any alcohol to their own children in their own home until age 21.

    And in UK the current government is going to get voted out, partly because of all this recent intrusiveness.

  53. ana blic November 21, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    E Sims — thanks for the offer of Nigerian email..

    No – I don’t believe every email I receive. I do believe that DHS has stolen my own grandsons – and I could not be more banned from them than if I had been running an internet porn site/ or the South American Drug Cartel. Currently – The Agency – has more power than God – and takes children – at will — because the case worker “took offense” or perhaps “doesn’t like your politics.”

    They lie freely – and as a grandparent – there are no laws to support me, or my grandsons. We are victims in the quest for job security of social workers.

    The wording in the new health plans – regarding the “ability” of state social workers to invade homes – is real. And it is only a short step away from the current state of affairs.

    I’m a college graduate / active in my community (the grandchidlren live in a county across the state) and I have been on the receiving end of this “march of the self righteous child savers” for almost three years…
    It is a nightmare.

    What is going on NOW in this country – is abhorant – and the wording that is in the new health care bill – legitimizes and extends the powers of this dysfunctional agency.

    Again – thanks for the offer of Nigerian email. I appreciate your consideration and compassion…

  54. Chrissy November 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    “This is crazed. :/ It’s not the government’s place to dictate any of this garbage. My mother never baby- or child-proofed her house, and my brother and I grew up just fine. My grandmother never child-proofed her house either. The result was that my brother and I learned not only to be safe on our own in our homes, but also to be safe in other people’s homes too. (And because neither my mother nor my grandmother childproofed in the sense of putting breakables up or away either, we didn’t run around trashing other people’s houses just because we could; we learned not to touch what wasn’t ours. Wow, what a concept.)


    I was bought up this way, as are my children 🙂

    And guess what they still don’t touch things which aren’t theirs at the age of 10 and 11..

    I do still have a stair gate though but that is to stop my dog (rather huge Old English Sheepdog) going upstairs during the day when we’re at work and trashing the rooms and laying all over the beds..