Of Toilets, Tots, Tabloids, Terror, and Research Grants

Hi ynardeiese
Readers! This comes to us from a gal named Deborah who apparently gets as worked up by a story as I usually do! Nice not to be the only one! – L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m not sure that this is one article you want to deal with the comments on (!), but the verbiage of it struck me:

Falling toilet seats: Rare but growing risk for boys

It isn’t the article so much as how it’s reported…a few examples:

“It’s a toddler basically potty training who doesn’t have the most advanced motor skills and they just don’t have the reflexes to move fast enough,” said Dr. Benjamin Breyer, the study’s lead author from the University of California, San Francisco.
We are talking about something that ALL independently functioning males using western-style toilets go through as toddlers in a learning process.  Telling a mom who grew up with sisters that she might need to help a toddler boy as he’s learning?  Okay, I could see that being a useful thing.  But a “Rare, But Growing Risk”?  Please.  Define “risk.”
“To us, that was striking. That was unexpected. You think of the bathroom as a safe place,” he said.
IT STILL IS.  How is this surprising or unexpected?  Are America’s researchers STILL so off on the number of people in our country (over 300,000,000) to the number of incidents? 
I mean, I fully understand that this could be a very painful event, and, if it was so painful or damaging that a doctor was seen, then that is a sad thing for those involved, but goodness!  A STUDY?  Involving RESEARCHERS?  I’ve read more than one account about people getting a dried noodle stuck under their fingernail.  Do I cringe in pain to read it?  Yup. Do I think we need a study or a news article ‘warning’ about it?  Nope. 
“Only five adults were caught by falling lids.”
So I’m reading a FRONT PAGE NEWS ARTICLE about an event that killed no one, and, according to the study, apparently didn’t even permanently damage anyone, about a study that was done that injured five adults and approximately one thousand still-learning kids age seven and under, with ‘warnings’ about ‘danger.’   Got it.
The researchers write in the journal BJU International that while these injuries are rare, the number of “crush injuries” increased by 100 ER visits every year, with 1,707 ER visits reported in 2010.
This data can be the tip of the iceberg, because there could be kids who are hurt whose parents don’t bring them to the ER. So this could be an underestimation of how often this is going on,” Breyer said.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like falling toilet seats lead to too much physical damage, but there may be some lingering mental trauma.

“The vast majority of these injuries were treated in the ER and then sent home… My sense is that it’s just a very traumatic and unpleasant experience to go through, but it would be important to know that there is no damage that happens to the penis or patient,” Breyer said.”

There you go –“tip of the iceberg,” “underestimation, because not all parents bring their kids to the ER” (if there’s not a need, don’t go!), “some lingering mental trauma,” “unpleasant experience”… Of all the genuine issues in the world, I’m just *trying* to picture someone pitching this as both an academic study AND as a newspaper article fifty years ago.  Crazy.

I stapled my thumb when I was five, because I had been watching my Mom staple things and was fascinated with it.  I still remember her laughing bewilderedly at me, as she took the staple out, bandaged my thumb, kissed my tears and showed me that staplers were only for paper, not people.  I didn’t develop a fear of staplers.  I learned how to use them.  She didn’t keep the stapler away from me.  She showed me how to use it

No one wrote an article. — Deborah

Mwah ha ha ha ha!!!

96 Responses to Of Toilets, Tots, Tabloids, Terror, and Research Grants

  1. Kenny Felder June 19, 2013 at 3:53 am #

    A week or two ago, Jon Stewart did a brief segment about some new disease that the media is going nuts over. He played lots of clips of doctors and politicians talking about this as the new SARS and so on. And then he finally got to the punch line: this horrible new epidemic has killed a grand total of 30 people, world wide. “30 people dead! You know what they call that on Game of Thrones?” he asked. “A wedding!”

  2. Emily June 19, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    I’ve got lingering mental trauma from reading this report. 🙂

  3. Kelly June 19, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    To pee, or not to pee, that is the question. 😉

  4. QuicoT June 19, 2013 at 5:14 am #



  5. Natalie June 19, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Not. To. Pee.

  6. Taradlion June 19, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    It is the tip of something alright!

    That’s it. Install urinals! …don’t potty train until after age 7…..and what about all the toddler girls who fall in!

    The sale of toddler potties is sure to rise.

  7. LaundryMommy June 19, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    We assume that all of these “horrific incidents” were accidents. When my husband was that age he used to play a little game that involved dropping the lid and seeing if he could get out of the way in time. Needless to say he couldn’t always. Little kids like to experiment to see what will happen. As an adult my husband is fine, undamaged and has very little memory of the incident at all. (Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing these stories, I think.)
    And for the record Taradlion, my daughter has fallen in a few times. She was a little wet, but fine and is more careful now. (Though very large public restroom toilets do still make her a little nervous).

  8. Melanie June 19, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Toddlers? As *toddlers* most little boys are still peeing sitting down. I shudder to imagine the more likely fallout of teaching a child “who doesn’t have the most advanced motor skills and they just don’t have the reflexes to move fast enough” how to aim.

  9. Nate June 19, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    This is how boys learn that when you’re at a house with a padded toilet seat, you need to hold it up. It shouldn’t take more than one lesson.

  10. Melissa June 19, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    Almost reads like something from The Onion.

  11. twinmom June 19, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    The next warning will be about the dreaded zipper.

  12. Taradlion June 19, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    I was joking about little girls “falling in”…no need for another study.

    For the record, my son ways peed standing up.

  13. SKL June 19, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    See, this is why I didn’t have boys. The emotional stress of it all.

    Did I seriously read that they expect parents to rush their kids to the ER every time this happens? Have they been in the ER lately? Now that’s traumatic.

  14. SKL June 19, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Oh, and another opportunity to see “our tax dollars at work.” :/

  15. JJ June 19, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    And just when I was getting over the zipper scene in “There’s Something About Mary”.

  16. lollipoplover June 19, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Like every new danger to children we now encounter, there is a whole new market of pottys to buy:


    I’m partial to potty seat with the ipad holder and one with handle bars.
    Where there is fear, there’s money to be made.

  17. Andrew June 19, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    A growing danger? Since when? I’ve never heard of it. Secondly, not to be crude but, How well endowed are you that this can happen to a man? If anyone said this happened to him, I would swear he was bragging. If I were that endowed, I’d be making adult films instead of working in a warehouse.
    If a toddler boy were that gifted, you would think there would be a mention in the AMA Journal.

  18. Warren June 19, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    For the first few weeks after mom getting dad to install the new padded seats we had a blast. When a guy would go to the bathroom we would all wait for the BANG and the CURSING that followed. It was funny untill everyone got used to holding it up.

    Going to the ER? Really? How overprotective can you get? I feel sorry for the kids, having the type of parents that rush them to the ER for things like this..

  19. pentamom June 19, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    “Fortunately, it doesn’t look like falling toilet seats lead to too much physical damage, but there may be some lingering mental trauma.”

    Okay, people suffer minor, painful injuries ALL THE TIME. If a kid suffers “lingering mental trauma” from this, then either they’re defining “mental trauma” a bit too broadly (kid develops fear of going to the bathroom and needs help getting over it) or someone is feeding his mental trauma by acting as though he should be traumatized — or both.

  20. CR Moewes June 19, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    OH MY GAWD!!!! Everyone remodel your bathroom and make sure to get a penis-safe toilet seat…. ahhh geez, seriously people??? Little boys getting their junk “stuck” under the toilet seat. I’d like to see the analysis of how many of them are younger brothers with evil older ones saying “Here try this”

  21. Emily, Mom of Independents June 19, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    I’m snort laughing over it being a “growing” problem.

  22. Katie June 19, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    The increase in ER visits has nothing to do with danger, it has everything to do with helicopter parents who bring their kids to the ER for injuries that don’t even require a doctors or urgent care visit.

    Meanwhile people who are actually sick and need to be there have to wait. I know someone who had a stroke while waiting in the waiting room to be able to get seen in the ER. Half a year later she has never fully and hardly partially recovered.

    Helicopter parents are a danger to society.

  23. Havva June 19, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    And now I know why the toilet seats at my daughter’s day care have hinges so stiff that she needs to lean on it with all her weight to put the seat down. (She fell in last week thanks to that). Which probably also explains why someone keeps loosening the bolts connecting the seat to the toilet bowl. Which makes it fall more than any other seat I have encountered. Hmmm… could the “safer seats” (with loose screws) be the culprit?

    Another more likely possibility… the American people are being robbed of their confidence to deal with even the most basic of first aid. And thus are rushing kids to the ER over the most minor of things.

    Maybe this ‘growing problem’ is only a shifting problem. One that always existed, but was once handled with a cold washcloth and a lollypop or pacifier, and maybe a check from the pediatrician a few hours latter. But now rather than waiting and seeing how the basic care works out, our panic stricken populace, (and growing population who’s only healthcare is through the ER) is rushing to the hospital.

    I don’t draw that idea out of nowhere. My dad has treated many people who called an ambulance because of a minor scrape needing only some soap and a band-aid. But of course for CYA reasons no one in the chain can just tell them they are being fools. The 911 operators can’t tell them to go wash it and slap on a band-aid. The EMTs can’t slap on a band-aid and drive off. The nurse at reception can’t slap on a band-aid and send them away. No… the hospital has to take a medical history, run extra tests, and have a doctor look at it. When people complain about the cost of medicine and high cost of hospitals, my dad always complains about how common it is for people to come by ambulance for a band-aid.

  24. Becca in Alaska June 19, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    We have a toilet in the house where the seat doesn’t stay up very well. My son, at the tender age of 3, learned to hold the seat and pee at the same time. No trama or ER visits involved.

  25. LRothman June 19, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Quick math here – 151.7 million males in the US. Let’s say each only lifts the toilet seat to pee 4 times a day. With about 1700 ER visits a year, that puts the odds at: 1 in 3.5 million

    Figuring an average lifespan of 80 year, that puts the lifetime odds at: 1 in 4,000.

    Putting it in perpective, the lifetime odd of someone in the US getting struck by lightening is 1 in 10,000.

    Considering the magnitude of difference in consequences between those two things, why does anyone need to do more than say “remember to be careful when you put the seat up & down” more than a couple times?

  26. CrazyCatLady June 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Based on the various motels I stayed at last week while traveling, I would say this is a diminishing problem. The seats were light weight, and it seemed that both would only move very slowly.

  27. Yan Seiner June 19, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    @LRothman: Because there’s no grant funding in common sense.

  28. Yan Seiner June 19, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    On a different note, trust the Japanese to solve the problem.

    Toto has been making Washlets (that’s their trade name) for years now. It’s a toilet/bidet, done with the usual Japanese high-tech flair.

    The seat itself is on a hydraulic hinge, so it doesn’t fall; it gently lowers itself. The bidet will not function unless there is a butt planted in the seat, avoiding those traumatic moments when you squirt yourself by pushing the wrong button.

    The water is warmed to a nice body temperature before it’s squirted, thus avoiding those traumatic moments of cold water on your butt.

    And the latest ones have two bidet positions, one for the general population and one for women… You need to read up on it.

    And, to top it all off, some have a blow dryer.

  29. LRothman June 19, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Yan: And from what I’ve seen, some people would refuse common sense it if it were being given away by the truckload.

  30. SKL June 19, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Now if we’re talking about those damn automatic flushers that have a mind of their own, I might agree about the mental trauma part.

  31. Natalie June 19, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Yes Yan, but does it have posterior recognition?

    Can it automatically adjust water pressure, water temperature, air temperature and wind speed to your personal preferences?

    I bet that’s in their next model. Not everyone likes their butt washed at the same temperature!

  32. lollipoplover June 19, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    May I just say that I’m more impressed all of these boys put the lid up? And for the trauma of their little weiners getting hit by the seat, doesn’t anyone use ice anymore?
    We’ve had weiner injuries (hit by balls) that require ice and no more. I think an ER visit would cause trauma-making them show their hurt weiner to some strangers with instruments would be terrifying, and they’ll probably just tell you to put ice on it. And we wonder why medical insurance rates are skyrocketing.

  33. Natalie June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    That and malpractice suits. Where do you think the CYA attitude comes from?

  34. Warren June 19, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Totally agree that this is not a problem, the problem is the parents that take their kids to the ER or their own doctors over nothing.

    Instead of studying peepee vs evil toilet seat incidents, why don’t they study the amount of time and resources are wasted by parents that don’t know how to treat the basics?

    I helped a buddy to the hospital to have a cast removed, and while waiting for him witnessed a mother upset with a nurse. Her son had been stung by a bee. Was not presenting any symptoms, no history of allergy. I could hear the nurse explaining this to the irrate mom. She was irrate because she wanted her son to be admitted, taken to an exam room, seen by a doctor, and monitored just in case.
    The nurse finally gave in. You could tell it was easier to patronize this mom, than fight her.

  35. WendyW June 19, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    During my brief stint as a military med tech, I spent my final year working in the base pediatric clinic. During that time we had one little boy brought in from this exact “trauma”. He was in enough pain that his parents wrapped him in a blanket because he wouldn’t let them put his pants back on. He was sent home with – you guessed it! – an ice pack and a lollipop. At least his parents had enough sense to come to the clinic instead of the ER.

  36. Jet June 19, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    These researchers need to do some more research. “To us, that was striking. That was unexpected. You think of the bathroom as a safe place.” Funny, every study I’ve ever read has indicated that the bathroom is one of, if not THE, most dangerous rooms in your house, what with wet floors, sharp corners, slipping dangers, etc.

  37. pentamom June 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Excellent point, Jet. Also, it’s symptomatic of the underlying belief that everything should be safe, rather than people learning to be appropriately (not excessively) careful. Careful in the literal sense of using care, not the helicopter sense of avoidance.

    “Oh no it’s not safe” is heard way too often, rather than “be careful, that thing is sharp/heavy/slippery/whatever.” Even adults who take upon themselves the responsibility to be careful still seem to react to things not being “safe,” when they should just be learning how to conduct themselves in less than perfectly safe situations without getting upset that the world isn’t cotton wool.

  38. Peter June 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    @LRothman: your numbers aren’t even high enough! With 151 million men, at 4 times peeing per day and 365 days per year, that’s 220,460,000,000 chances to have an incident. Divide that by the 1700 ER visits and the chances are 1 in 129.7 million that a given visit to a toilet to pee will result in this injury.

    But even looking only at little kids, it’s extreme: The US Census shows just over 20 million kids age 5 and under. If 49.2% of those are boys, and we trim off 40% for being ages 1 and 2, we end up with 5.9 million boys ages 3, 4 or 5. If we assume they’re going pee 4 times per day, that’s 8.6 billion chances per year one of these poor, poor boys might just experience this trauma. Let’s pretend the 1700 ER visits don’t include any adults and divide it into our high-risk boys and we get… a 1 in 5.1 million chance.

    That’s crazy small risk. According to NOVA/PBS, the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. According to the LiveScience website, your chances of getting killed by a tsunami or asteroid are substantially higher (1 in 500,000).

  39. squishymama June 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    @SKL – I totally agree with you on the damn automatic flushers. My little one was so little when she potty trained that the sensor did not “see” her and she was flushed upon while still peeing numerous times. She is still so freaked out by them now, 3 years later, that if it’s an auto-flusher, someone has to go in the stall with her and cover the sensor.

  40. Kay June 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I picked the wrong career.

  41. Chihiro June 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    First of all, ouch. That would definitely hurt. Second of all, that’s life. Life hurts sometimes. It sucks, but people need to get over it.

  42. DH June 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    My husband and son have the option of either peeing sitting down or being yelled at to come clean up the damn toilet if they miss when peeing standing up.

    Amazingly, they both pee sitting down.

  43. Papilio June 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    “1 in 129.7 million” And suddenly child abduction seems so much more likely…

    I had never heard of the problem before and have trouble imagining how the lid can fall back down. The lid-bowl angle should be a bit over 90 degrees to keep the lid resting against the water reservoir, so…?

    @JJ: Here’s a fresh zipper scene for ya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0wqM_tAmFs

  44. Nicole June 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    “tip of of the iceberg” hee hee

    I’ll get to this right after I finish learning how to play cars with my boys from Matel

  45. Maggie June 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Lingering mental trauma? Really?


    These events might be traumatic:

    1st day of pre-school / school
    Pet dies
    Grandparents / family member dies
    Friends move away
    Fall resulting in bleeding
    Parents divorce

    Frankly, my toddlers would have been more upset if Teletubbies was cancelled than the toilet seat falling down.

    Guess we better shield our children from LIFE.


  46. Maggie June 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Another thing. I’m not sure how those boys privates got hurt, since my boys were never in a position where that would happen.

    And I don’t want to KNOW how it happened to an adult male.

  47. WendyW June 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Maggie, a small boy is just barely tall enough to aim over the edge of the bowl. If the seat does fall, it’s easy to be in the wrong place. I certainly never encouraged my boys to stand up at that age, but boys who observe their daddies will often try to emulate them. I’m with you re: the adults!
    My daughter “suffered a lingering trauma” when she slipped in the tub as a toddler and whacked her head on the edge. She refused to get in the tub for a while, but toddler memories are short, and after a few weeks of sponge baths she happily returned to the tub with no more fears. Any kid that does have this accident, if handled by parents with a practical, non-helicopter attitude, will soon forget it ever happened. It’s the hyper-careful, constantly reminding parents that make the trauma linger.

  48. Rachel June 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    @Melissa It does sound like an Onion story! This happened to both of my boys when they were little–though I’m sure they’d be really upset if I shared any more information about how this is possible. Just think about how short little kids are, and why it is less likely to happen to adults.

  49. Warren June 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    For this to happen to an adult male there is usually some amount of alcohol at work. LOL.

  50. Betsy June 19, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Yes, DH, in our house my husband and son pee sitting down. Hubby’s a tall guy; he’d miss (but surely never get hit by the toilet seat!). Amazing thing, in our house we actually all keep the COVER of the toilet seat shut when not in use (okay, admittedly this started 25 years ago when we had a cat who played in the water, and got the seat wet all the time. He lived to be 17, so the habit stuck. Still, it’s a tidy idea.). The 1st grader finally learned to use a urinal last year in school with his buddies. Hubby says Dream House has a urinal at the appropriate height. Apparently ADA has hit public restrooms without much common sense; now many urinals are placed too low for standing men to use, as if to accommodate a gent in a wheelchair. Correct me it we’re wrong, but we believe that all of those fellows are using the large handicapped stalls that accommodate their wheelchairs. But isn’t that too often what this blog is about – the dearth (and death) of common sense?

  51. Sherri June 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    When my son was three he used to slam the wooden toilet seat down all the time until one day it developed a hairline crack. Sure enough he sat down on the toilet and the cracked seat pinched his bottom. He didn’t sit on the toilet again until I replaced the seat. I wonder if there has been a study done on this?

  52. bmommyx2 June 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    I want to know what person, organization or company funder this study?? & why

  53. hineata June 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Of course, if we all used pit toilets, this would never happen. Kids might slip and fall into the loo, but at least nothing would be falling on them…..Anyone got any money to give me for research on the likelihood of slipping into a pit toilet?

  54. hineata June 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    @Yan – those Japanese loos would be great if they would only write the instructions in English or other languages too, for we ignoramuses who don’t speak Japanese. My brother took us to visit a very fancy hotel where he conducted weddings once, and the toilet block was amazing – it even had a mini Japanese garden with a stream flowing through it. However, the toilets themselves were computerised jobs with instructions printed in Japanese, and we couldn’t even flush them! 🙂

  55. Arianne June 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Hey, side note, but at the eye doctor today with my kids, I picked up a Parenting magazine (at least I *think* it was Parenting–it had a little girl in a swim suit with a floaty around her), and I was pleasantly shocked at how Free Range-y some of the content was! There was an article about “Why I let my kid fail,” and another about the importance of real, unstructured playtime. That article even mentioned that about 100 years ago, a small kid had 6 miles of roam space, while today, they have, I think, 300 ft or something like that. I wish I’d had more time to read a little deeper than I did.

    I do *not* remember parenting magazines sounding like that when I first started having kids 9 years ago. I know you’re not the only one saying this stuff, Lenore, but I think you are one of the first and certainly one of the most influential. You are really having an impact on the way parents today think. 🙂

  56. SKL June 20, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Just yesterday my daughter was asking me whether it is common for potty-training tots to fall into the toilet, LOL. We did not discuss government-funded studies nor warning labels. 😉

  57. BK June 20, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Love the caption! Evil, laughing toilet seat!

  58. Emily June 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    @Squishymama–Why not just hand your daughter a small stack of Post-It notes when you go out in public, so she can stick one over the sensor if you’re ever in a public bathroom with auto-flushers? That way, you’re teaching her to independently mitigate her fear. A lot of people have an equivalent of that. For example, I have issues with anxiety and panic attacks in cases of sensory overload, so I keep my herbal meds and iPod on hand when I’m out in the world. That way, if I’m faced with a situation like a crowded public bus (particularly bad, because it’s a confined, noisy space, with jerky movements, and sometimes bright lights), then I’m okay. In fact, you can even tell her about this, so that she knows that sometimes, even adults have to adapt to situations that bother or frighten them.

  59. delurking June 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Methinks it is the author of the post and many commenters who are making more of this than is necessary.

    For example:
    “A STUDY? Involving RESEARCHERS?”

    Now, I am assuming the all-caps is intended to signify incredulity, but obviously the post author put less than a few seconds of thought into the evaluation.

    Note that the results were derived from a national database of ER visits. So, the researchers sat down in front of a computer, typed in some search terms, and got some numbers out. Then they reported them. You can also tell from the linked article that the authors have published other studies derived from that database.

    Statistics are collected at ERs as a matter of course, because it would be silly to try to decided on a case-by-case basis whether or not statistics should be collected. It takes very little additional effort to analyze those statistics for changes in injury rates. It makes lots of sense to look for trends in injuries because occasionally there are surprises that take very little effort to rectify.

    Remember a little while ago, on this very blog, where it was reported that a study looked at playground slide injuries and found that when adults ride with children injuries to children were more severe? A STUDY? Involving RESEARCHERS? On PLAYGROUND SLIDES? How stupid!

    Oh, wait, that wasn’t the reaction, was it? This community was actually pretty happy that there was a study that supported its biases. Maybe you all should remember that usually, studies are done on things where the answer isn’t known with sufficient confidence in advance.

  60. Natalie June 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    High five to you delurking.
    I had also noticed that the study was on genital injuries reported in ER. This was only one of the findings. The doctor publishes a LOT of articles (with some interesting topics i might add) based on ER and other compiled data, and his findings are of use to the medical community which is why he continues to get funding for his research.
    I didn’t have time to construct one of my bible length posts to explain why this blog post was giving misinformation, you’ve done that for me, and more eloquently.
    I admire Lenore and what she’s doing, but some of her blog posts are not well thought out or well researched.

  61. Natalie June 20, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Genital injuries from women’s grooming habits, pieces of Dominoes inserted into foreskin…

    Urologists must be a lot of fun at dinner parties with the stuff they see.

  62. Natalie June 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    I think people here would be happier if the conclusion from the research was (and a few have pointed this out already) that people go to the ER more than they used to, rather than an increase in injury necessitating more safety measures.

    But it would be better to read the actual article in order to determine if the conclusion was sound. But the article isn’t freely available to the public, even though the public funded it.

  63. delurking June 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I have access to the BJUI article.

    The authors do not speculate on why there is an increase in such injuries, because they have no data to back up any such speculation. The speculation that people go to the ER more often came from this thread.

    It is just as reasonable to speculate that the increasing sales of taller toilets is to blame, because they better match the height of boys learning to pee standing up. There is no evidence either way.

  64. Natalie June 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Nice. They cut our journal subscriptions long before I started working here. I have to order through the inter library loan.

  65. Tiffany June 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    This exact thing happened to my son. We taught him to pee sitting down but he wanted to be like daddy and was doing fine with lifting the toilet seat and peeing when one day I hear a BAM and then massive wailing coming from the bathroom. He hadn’t pushed the seat up enough and it fell back down and got him (he always pushes it up after he pulls down his underwear). There was blood and tears and it was a pain in the butt to deal with, but we just cleaned it up, kept a close eye on it to make sure his penis healed well, and he was ultimately fine. He went back to sitting to pee for awhile though. 😛 (Now, six months later, he stands again, but generally doesn’t put the seat up. I guess that’s his “lingering trauma? Heh.)

    The lesson my son has taught me in general is that kids are SO resilient. We should give them more opportunity to prove that to us.

  66. oncefallendotcom June 21, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    What a CRAPpy article, full of TOILET humor. I should take a SEAT to WIPE the memory of reading this from my mind. The opinions of these researchers isn’t worth SQUAT. But there’s no need to get anal about it.

  67. Emily June 21, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    To the poster upthread who pointed out that the bathroom isn’t necessarily a “safe” place (slippery floors, sharp corners, and the potential for cutting oneself with a razor), thank you. I was waiting for someone to point that out. While we’re at it, the kitchen can be a pretty dangerous place too, because of the potential for getting cut, burned, or scalded while cooking/preparing food or hot beverages. So, basically, if you wake up, take a shower, and then eat breakfast, you’ve survived two potentially deadly rooms before even beginning your morning commute to work or school, which is fraught with perils of its own. However, life isn’t, and shouldn’t be, 100% safe 100% of the time. So, we cook, we shower, we use the bathroom, we go outside, we walk, we ride bicycles, we drive cars, we use the Internet, and we live our lives, accepting that there’s going to be some risk involved. The people here who have kids, mostly aim to raise their kids with the same attitude towards risk–that it’s sometimes necessary, and learning to manage risk safely is a part of growing up, and functioning in the world.

    So, in this case, I agree with the majority of people here–either teach your sons to hold the seat up, or wait until they’re tall enough to avoid a “crush injury” before encouraging them to stand. If bits get crushed anyway, the proper treatment is an ice pack, not a trip to the ER–or at least, that’s what we were taught many moons ago when I first started volunteering at the YMCA. The ER may be necessary in a “caught in zipper” situation, but for a simple toilet-seat slam, you at least try to deal with it yourself first. I also agree with the person who said that a little boy being forced to show his bruised privates to the medical people, will probably have at least as much, if not more, “lingering mental trauma” over that, than over the injury itself.

  68. Papilio June 21, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    “if you wake up”

    IF! That’s *three* potentially deadly rooms!

    @oncefallendotcom: the language detail I noticed is that this whole post is about toiletseats falling on penises, yet the word penis, or whatever synonym, is only mentioned once!

  69. Natalie June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Have you ever heard of the penis game?

  70. Emily June 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    @Papillo–I meant, if you follow the minimal morning routine of wake up, shower, breakfast, and out the door, then even that could be dangerous, if you (over)think hard enough. I deliberately left out other, more obviously dangerous variables, like the potential for getting injured during a morning workout. I didn’t mean that waking up wasn’t guaranteed, but I guess, if you think about it, isn’t. For example, my maternal grandfather actually did die in his sleep; however, he was old, he had a lot of health problems, and his wife (my maternal grandmother) had died earlier that day, so he was under a lot of stress. So, I didn’t mean that dying in your sleep was something that happens to most people, because it isn’t.

  71. squishymama June 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    @Emily – Thanks for the sticky note suggestion. She just might go for it!

  72. Papilio June 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    @Natalle: No? Enlighten me… 🙂

    @Emily: Apparently people also die from falling out their bed, so…

  73. oncefallendotcom June 22, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    @Papilio, I felt it would be PHALLUS of me to make penis jokes. There’s too much poppyCOCK already, and I have not the time to DICK around.

  74. Emily June 22, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    @Papillo–Really? People can die from falling out of bed? I don’t believe that. A conventional bed is only a few feet off the ground, and even a top bunk bed isn’t that high–I can’t see anyone falling from there and suffering more than a few bruises, or at the most, a broken bone. But, okay, assuming it’s true, beds still haven’t been declared as dangerous, and sleeping on the floor touted as the new “safe” alternative, so there’s another place where society generally feels that the benefit outweighs the risk. So, there ARE a few things left in this world that the Safety Mafia has yet to do away with.

  75. P a p i l i o June 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    @Emily: Hey, don’t look at me, I just read this blog…
    It sounded weird to me too, but in case of very old people I can imagine those few feet can do enough damage for them to eventually die from.

  76. hineata June 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    @Emily and Papilio – can’t resist adding that I do know one person personally who died as a result of falling out of bed, and that was my dad, but he was on the way out anyway from bone cancer (dreadful disease) so the hip break just hastened the end, hallelujah. Also there was a child in Australia a few years ago who died from a head fall sustained from a top bunk, just one of those things…..

    There was even a lady down here when I was a teenager (and hockey player) who managed to kill herself at a hockey break-up, when she slipped on a wet patch of floor while carrying a casserole dish to the table. Dish smashed as it hit the floor, and she cut her jugular as she fell onto the results. Shocking way to die, but just goes to show that if it’s your time, you can die of anything…..

  77. ann June 22, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Why did men ever start peeing standing up in the 1st place? Believe me, I have often envied their having a tool to point with in the outdoors on long hikes (instead of the process of straddling and splash avoidance women go thru), but why any intelligent Mom would NOT train her son to SIT while urinating is NOT intelligent. EVERY time my son has a friend over it looks as if he used the backboard method (bouncing off the raised lid) of getting some of the urine into the actual bowl. It is everywhere. It is disgusting. And, they NEVER clean it up! Moms-make the effort to make less work for yourself, a better husband for his mate, and a better mannered guest in someones’ home.

  78. Matt June 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    Give me a boy standing over a girl hovering any day. Got a problem with a boy using the backboard? Don’t teach him to sit, teach him cleaning up his mess is his job, and isn’t just “women’s work”. It doesn’t get more free range than peeing standing up….

    In other news, there is a rising danger from spring loaded sunglass cases (Maui Jim) when allowing a 2 year old to be naked while potty training. Maybe its only happened to us, but I heard a yell and my son had the case clamped on his junk like a Boston Terrier on a tennis ball. If I can save just one little boy from going through the pain he did…..

  79. Let_Her_Eat_Dirt June 23, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    The breathless reporting of this “risk” is too much — it almost makes me think that the reporter was writing tongue-in-cheek or for the Onion. And this was on the front page?! We have better things to worry about!

    Let Her Eat Dirt
    A dad’s take on raising tough, independent girls

  80. JosephineLisetta June 23, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    @delurking–I think it’s important to recognize that there’s a meaningful distinction to be made here between the BJUI (The Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons) article and the Reuters article. I completely agree with your point that this is a reasonable and legitimate study to have done, and to have funded. The part I think is unreasonable is the Reuters writeup of the article for more popular media. Urological surgeons may well make use of this information, but are the conclusions so meaningful or the recommendations so important that the general population needs to know about it? (This sort of writeup might reasonably be included in. . .say. . .a plumber’s trade publication.) It doesn’t seem nearly interesting (or novel) enough to me for general public consumption, however.

    I understand your inclination to stand up for the research (and COMPLETELY agree with it) but that’s not what i’d be reacting to here. . .just some food for thought.

  81. Emily June 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    @Papillo–Okay, so pretty much anything can be fatal, even if the odds are miniscule. I’m sorry about your dad, and about the lady who died falling and cutting her jugular on a broken casserole dish at the hockey potluck, and I feel badly for the unnamed child in Australia who died falling from a top bunk bed, but that doesn’t automatically mean that hockey, or potlucks, or sleeping in beds that are more than six inches off the ground, are dangerous.

  82. Emily June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    @Ann–I always assumed that males stood in order to avoid getting an infection from the toilet water, but a male friend in university told me that this wasn’t the case. He said that guys stand “because they can.”

  83. Natalie June 24, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    @emily – I think papillo was joking

    @papillo – the penis game: when with a few friends in a public setting, you compete to see who is willing to say penis the loudest. Stupid? Yes. But my 16 yr old high school self would be in hysterics.

  84. hineata June 24, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    @Emily, actually it was me talking about all that, and that was entirely my point. Anything at all can be dangerous, so there’s no point in worrying about it. 🙂 .

    So let’s all relax and enjoy life. While we still can.

  85. ann June 24, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Matt, when potty training does any parent actually let their toddler stand and aim and then make them clean it up? I agree, teaching them to clean is the right way to go when they are capable. As a matter of fact, my son was the final decision maker in the sit or stand dilemma when I started making him clean up after himself! By the way- My husband is the bathroom cleaner in our home, (Career military-he’s really good at it and seems to actually enjoy it!), so let me assure you, the notion of “Women’s Work” is not even a thought to our kids-they are growing up seeing that any person is capable of any task and to respect themselves, each other, and our home. One other note to Emily- we really try not to sit on public toilets, but occasionally we all have to-my kids both know to get a wad of paper towels and put hand soap on them and “clean” off the seat before sitting-most public restrooms are actually cleaner than the restaurant tables/chairs we sit and eat at, but it just makes you feel better!

  86. Karen June 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    This article is absurd enough to make me laugh and then the clincher is the author’s name. Different spelling but still funny.

  87. PAPILIO June 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    @Natalie&Emily: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_fal_inv_bed-mortality-fall-involving-bed
    I rest my case!

    @Natalie: sounds indeed like something teenagers would enjoy 🙂

    @hineata: I like this quote: He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears. – Michel de Montaigne 🙂

  88. Mannie July 12, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Y’all need one of these.


    Of course, the kid will be in highschool before he’s housebroken.


  89. KaD July 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Couldn’t the same be said of getting caught in one’s zipper?


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