Safety is the word that brooks no challenge. s.

Using “That’s Not Safe!” to Control Others

This hnthyaikfi
post originally appeared as a comment from Donald Christensen, an Australian dad interested in psychology and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). He explains this subject through his OnMySoapBoxx blog with simple, clever analogies and pictures. I’ve learned so much from him!

Here’s his take (punctuated the Aussie way) on why we’re hearing the word “safety” all the time:

Safety is used for many things other than ‘Safe’.

1. Safety is used to say, “Do what I say now! End of discussion”. ‘Danger’ has become a trump card. ‘Danger’ can be substituted for, ‘Because I said so that’s why’! A toddler may complain about having to eat his green beans and asks, “WHY DO I HAVE TO EAT THEM”? The parent can respond with “BECAUSE I SAID SO THAT’S WHY”! However, an adult can’t say this to another adult. They instead say, “I’M RIGHT BECAUSE MY WAY IS SAFER”, or “WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS DANGEROUS”!
2. Safety can be used as a puppet string. Police and CPS are required to respond to any tip, complaint, whim, or nervous feeling that any busybody may have. The busybody can also use it to feel superior. (See safety use #3.)
3. Safety is used to bully. This overlaps with the ‘puppet string.’ One person can use it to harass another. The workforce is another place where safety is a tool that can be used to bully. Everybody is given carte blanche to ‘snitch’ on anybody. Reporting another for engaging in a dangerous act is what this ‘carte blanche’ is meant for. However, this is often abused. The ‘dangerous’ act can be exaggerated, taken out of context, or completely made up.
4. Safety is used to sell. Remember the days when the type of toothpaste or dandruff shampoo you used determined whether or not you got a date? The word ‘safety’ is another attractive quality attached to many products.
5. Safety is used for funding. This runs parallel to ‘Safety Sells’. A new study by the University of Iowa found that younger kids have a harder time gauging exactly when it’s safe to cross the street. It’s true that the peripheral vision and ability to determine speed, distance, and time are more developed in the later years. However, this would make a boring title of a study. It’s more of an attention grabber to say that it’s NOT SAFE to….
6. Safety is used to make things safer. However, this is way down the list.
The moral of the story: safety is used for many more things other than to make things safer.
So true. Safety is like salt — you can sprinkle it on almost anything and people like it more. Try to notice when and how “safety” is cited in your everyday life. I’d love to hear examples of when it is abused or exaggerated, and what the effect is on us. – L.


Safety is the 500-pound gorilla. (So watch out!)

, , ,

59 Responses to Using “That’s Not Safe!” to Control Others

  1. Sarah M May 11, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    Oh man, I can relate to this. Just this week a neighbor of mine–my age (early 30s) –asked if I knew my car was running when I was coming outside with my spouse to go on an errand. “Yes, I let my son (aged 9, nearly 10) turn on the ignition and play in the car”. He did this no more than 2 minutes before we were outside. He likes to turn up the speakers and dance and move the steering wheel.
    She repeatedly told me how dangerous this was, how unsafe it was, how someone could be hit, etc. and I was baffled.
    Later my husband happened to be out with a friend and his buddies, one who is a cop in a large city (3 mil), and when he asked him if all of those things were okay, the cop said, “yeah, sure, why not? It’s no big deal” and said he’d let his (younger) son do that. Sigh. Hearing it from a police officer DID help me to feel like I could push back a bit more if the conversation ever came up again, but come on?! This just feels ridiculous, especially because (and I’m assuming here, of course) people my age grew up with SO MANY more freedoms. By the time I was my youngest child’s age, I was a latchkey kid, had a 1 mile walk, made myself my own food before my mom was home and just left a note as to where I was going and when I’d be back!

  2. Angie May 11, 2017 at 11:56 am #

    I had a small disagreement with a friend regarding leaving the three-year-old I nanny in the (locked) car while I walked 10 feet away to pick up his brother at preschool. I was annoyed that I felt peer pressured by parents to remove him for that short of a walk, because they all removed their smaller children from their cars. My friend responded that, “It’s just safer, anything can happen.” Really? Anything? It’s a preschool parking lot with trusted adults everywhere. I’m out of the car for about thirty seconds and the car is always within my sight. What could POSSIBLY happen? I suppose there’s always the risk that someone could lose control of their car and ram into mine. But someone could just as easily mow us both down on that ten few walk. I told her that this kind of paranoia has no basis in reality and we all need to loosen up! If just because it’s super annoying taking kids in and out of carseats when there’s no true need.

  3. Mark Roulo May 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    I suspect that this is more often a mom/female thing.

    I had a conversation at a park many years ago that went like this:
        Helpful Stranger: He (my son) could injure himself doing that.
        Me: Yep.

    I think that for men, this will usually be the end of the conversation.

    Maybe not for women?

    I do wonder how things continue for others after you have acknowledged the danger and
    made it clear that you are okay with it …

  4. Mike May 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Go to any baby store and look at the products. Almost all of them are sold with some variant of “if you don’t buy this product, your baby will DIE!”

  5. Eric S May 11, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    Over use of any word is bad. Because in time (and a relatively short period of time), it can actually be normalized. Which is the cause of many issues regarding “free range parenting”. Much like “sorry”. Many people say “sorry” for the sake of saying it, just to avoid conflicts. But they don’t really feel or believe they are. So when people here others say sorry, and it’s genuine, they pause and have to think if they other person really does mean it.

    I never say, “That’s not safe”. Anything can be “unsafe”, depends on perspective. If something is “unsafe”, but not “life or death usafe”, I say, “be careful”. Then go on to explain the things that can happen if my kids aren’t smart about dealing with the situation. If we teach our kids how to deal with situations in life, and not shelter them, even “unsafe” things become less scary. Both for the kids and the parents. It’s called learning confidence. We CANNOT learn to be confident if we are always paranoid. And parents are already setting their children to be failures as adults, by teaching them to be fearful and insecure. Because insecurity stems from fear.

  6. Katherine Marquis May 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    Just recently I was yelled at by a man and woman waiting for an elevator as I walked toward them down a flight of stairs holding my infant son. I was holding the railing and going slow. They looked at me with disdain and said WHAT YOURE DOING IS VERY DANGEROUS. I said Really??, confused. The woman told me I should have taken the elevator. I said I’m perfectly fine walking down stairs with my son like I do over and over every day but thanks for your concern As I walked away the woman remarked to the man how nasty I was. They were basically saying I was being a terrible parent and attacking me for doing a normal every day activity but I’M the nasty one. Go figure.

  7. Mike May 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    @Angie re “anything can happen”.

    Whenever I hear that I start saying things that are ludicrously unlikely but COULD happen.

    “A meteorite could fall from the sky and crush him!”
    “There could be an earthquake, opening a chasm right underneath!”
    “A sudden tornado could swoop down and yank us away!”
    “10,000 attacking seagulls could poop on our heads!”


    Any of those things COULD happen, right? Except that they won’t. Counter worst-first thinking with really worst case scenarios, to point out how stupid it is.

  8. Eric S May 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    @Angie: I just laugh at them. Sometimes I’ll even get my one of my kids to explain to them how they are just fine. And how not allowing them to learn, only impedes (my word, they use “stops”) them from learning how to. When they say, “my mom and dad can’t always be there, so I have to learn to protect myself”, the dumb/dear in headlights look on the adults’ face is priceless. Sometimes I’ll give my kids a high five for a job well done. Kids aren’t too young to learn ANYTHING. The earlier the better I always say. It’s like getting the answers to a test, before doing the test. But you still study. Things just get much easier.

  9. Beanie May 11, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    I needed my 11-year-old fifth grader to leave school two hours early because his class was taking a standardized test, which we refuse (and the school’s alternative is to have him sit in another classroom, playing with his Rubik’s Cube, for two hours). We thought this would be a good opportunity for him to bike home by himself. Leaving the school by bike two hours before dismissal, when there is virtually no traffic on the road to the school and very little at the one stoplight he would need to navigate, was a risk I found acceptable. However, the school would not let him sign himself out “for safety reasons.” However, if he were to leave at regular dismissal time, there is no rule about him biking out on a poorly maintained road with no shoulder, lined with cars both parked and passing each other by swerving into the other lane.

    Our school is obsessed with “safety,” although on the plus side, they still play dodgeball in P.E.

  10. Eric S May 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    @Mike: lol. I say the same thing too. But I always form it in a form of a question. So that others are forced to answer their own question. I find that more effective than just TELLING them. People aren’t stupid, even if they come across as such. They are just ignorant. And when you force them to answer their own questions or replies, you get them to THINK. Which is what part of the issue is, many DON’T think. They just regurgitate what they’ve read, heard or watched online. Never once thinking of the validity of what they come across. Their validation…other like minded people feel the same way. Not actual facts and proofs. Ignorant people don’t care about facts. They just care about that others feel the same way they do, and that’s enough validation for them to take things as “truth”. Psychology 101.

  11. Eric S May 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    @Beanie: Most schools or establishment always use the “safety issue”. When they really mean it’s a “liability issue”. They don’t want to get sued. Not really about children’s safety, but rather covering their own collective asses. All about the adults, sadly. And it messes up our kids.

  12. Brooks May 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Yep. You know when an elected official or school administrator uses the words, “safety,” “precious children,” etc. you can be certain that it’s about anything but safety.

  13. John B. May 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Every year, the organization I work for puts on a “Walk to Wellness” activity where we all are authorized time to meet at a park and walk 3 miles on a walking / jogging path, 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back. Afterwards, we all eat lunch under the park pavilion that was catered by the local barbecue place. It’s basically meant to encourage exercise and physical fitness in the work place.

    Well, yesterday we held our annual “Walk to Wellness” and before the big boss turned us lose on the walk, he went down a whole list of safety concerns such as staying on the right side of the path to avoid colliding with walkers / joggers going the opposite way (Really, are we that accident prone?). He also told us to avoid veering off the path otherwise we might run into poison Ivey (bushes and weeds were far from the path). He also told us that if we feel light headed to sit down and solicit help from the other walkers and he stressed that we should not overdo ourselves and know our limitations. Of course, water was provided and he emphasized that we should drink plenty of that before and during the walk. He went thru at least 15 other safety concerns.

    I mean, goodness, it was a 20 minute safety speech on the dangers of walking!

  14. Christopher Byrne May 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    I hear all the time how a toy isn’t safe. Yes, if a child picks up an action figure (or block or whatever) and clonk another kid with it, that’s probably not safe. But it’s not the toy that caused that; it’s the child. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times a TV anchor will go down the road of lack of safety because of unintended use. Toys sold in the U.S. meet some of the the highest and most detailed safety standards in the world.

    But people like to be scared, especially when subconsciously they know they are basically all right. That’s the nature of horror movies.

    I would also add that safety is used egotistically as well. Parents who are hyper-vigilant tend to pat themselves on the back for being caring and attentive, and the best parents on the block. “I would never let my kid…” This works better when there’s no real danger. You get security and self aggrandization in one. Plus, there’s the attractive myth that you alone can protect your children from everything. Again, ego. And not really good parenting. Children NEED to fail in the comparative safety of parental concern.

    What this means for kids is they fear failure, avoid risk and always look to an outside expert for approval and approbation. But they’re all safe. At least until their parents are killed by an escaped rhinoceros while on a shopping trip to London. (With apologies to James and the Giant Peach)

  15. James May 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    The problem with safety is that it sets up an impossible ideal. NO activity is completely devoid of risk. If you get out of bed there’s a chance you’ll slip, fall, crack your head open, and die. If you stay in bed, there’s a chance the bed frame (or house itself) will collapse in such a way as to injure or kill you.

    This creates a situation where if anyone doesn’t like what you’re doing they always have an excuse to accuse you of wrongdoing. Since no activity meets the requirement of being 100% free from all risk, if they don’t like some activity you or your children are doing they can accuse you of being unsafe and be factually correct. They also have a convenient stick to beat you with if you object to their intrusions–they’re just trying to help, you’re being unreasonable and unsafe!! But safety is merely a cover; the issue is that they don’t like what you’re doing. This is particularly true of organizations such as corporations, schools, and governments–they don’t care if you live or die, they only care whether they can be sued for anything that happens to you. Obviously there are exceptions, but I’ve found that to be a very useful starting point when assessing “safety culture”.

    “Maybe not for women?”

    My wife may be somewhat rare in this, but she’s perfectly happy to let our kids suffer the normal injuries of childhood. If the kid bruises his leg doing something, he’ll either not do it again, or at least find a better way to do it!

  16. lollipoplover May 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    This is all so true!

    I’ve been told that I have “rough and tumble” kids (not as a compliment!) and I think their resilience both physically and mentally has made them stronger individuals.

    The most recent *safety* conversation I’ve had with fellow parents is over this Slime craze. My daughter is a big-time slime maker…she has pretty much taken all of the tupperware in the house and has a pretty sophisticated craft room to experiment to her heart’s content. She adds beads, glitter, food coloring, scented oils, and all of her father’s shaving cream to make her creations. I think it’s awesome, and was surprised to have “the dangers of slime” shared with me b on Facebook, in emails, and texted as well from many parents:

    I showed my slime maker the articles the other parents sent me. I got eye rolls from her. She told me one of her friends had her mother throw all of her supplies away because she wanted to keep her “safe”. She made the remark that this same mom smokes while driving them in the car and that if she was really concerned with her kid’s safety and health, she wouldn’t subject those kids to second-hand smoke and all of those chemicals.
    Smart kid!

  17. M May 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    “Safety”, “If we can protect one child” “anything can happen” and “Think of the children!” are used to manipulate, coerce, and control others.

    Anything CAN happen. Yet parents seem to have no idea how to access risk. They protect their children from extremely rare occurrences (kidnapping), while ignoring the most common causes of child injuries and fatalities (car accidents, drowning).

  18. Peter May 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    There’s a story I heard a few years back from a paparazzi-type I know. When celebrity news was slow, they’d pick a celebrity that would make good headlines and had children (and had been annoying at one point or another) and report them to CPS. CPS would show up to check out the complaint and there’s the headline: “Celebrity investigated by CPS!” An “unnamed source” (namely, the pap themselves) would spill the beans as to what horrible thing the celebrity had been accused of. You’d get lots of pictures of the CPS person talking to the Celebrity to go along with it.

  19. Jennifer C May 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    It’s the media that perpetuates a lot of this. Just about every day on the Today Show there’s a segment or two about ‘Could such-and-such be putting your child at risk’? And the local news is no better. Yesterday they had a segment about how kids should not just wear helmets while bike riding, but also knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards—safety experts say so.

  20. lollipoplover May 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    “they had a segment about how kids should not just wear helmets while bike riding, but also knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards—safety experts say so.”

    How can you even bike with all of this padding??

    My daughter bikes to school everyday with only a helmet. She has since kindergarten (she’s 10). Yesterday, she told me she made a sharp turn and crashed into a fence, but bounced off and landed on the grass, with just a scrape on her finger. She got up fast because she would have caused the kids biking behind her to crash as well. She went on to school and just told us about her crash during dinner conversation, like it was no big deal (it wasn’t). I think more padding would slow her reflexes and likely cause more accidents. It would also make the simple joy of riding a bike a complete hassle.

  21. susan May 11, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    As someone who is creating Safety Products I truly appreciate this article. As a marketer I agree and we need to be careful to not bastardize an important feature/benefit with overuse and manipulation. Thank you!

  22. Jessica May 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    My son’s kindergarten has a “don’t wiggle and roll around when the class is siting on the rug together” rule. But rather than saying “It’s annoying and distracting,” or “We are trying to teach you to behave in a civilized way,” they’ve told them– It’s not safe! You might hurt someone!

  23. Jessica May 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    Which I resent, because I feel it waters down the whole concept of safety. When I say “Don’t dart out into a busy parking lot! It’s not safe!” I feel like my son is definitely thinking “Yeah, I hear that like 40 times a day…”

  24. James May 11, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    “How can you even bike with all of this padding??”

    Not just that, but this wouldn’t prevent a lot of injuries. My sister snapped her radius and ulna in a bike accident. She has two plates in her arm now, and a nifty card she has to carry if she goes through a metal detector saying that she has it. And this isn’t an uncommon injury type for bikes–the way the forces interact with your body as you crash result in spiral fractures and complete breaks in long bones. There’s nothing that can really prevent that kind of injury. (To be clear: ANY injury beyond those requiring a bandaid is rare.)

    You’re absolutely right in saying that more padding results in more injuries. It’s not just the slower reaction times (which can be mitigated via practice). Humans subconsciously assess risks, and we over-estimate what safety equipment can do. Studies have shown that increasing safety equipment requirements increases injuries because people do dumber things. For example: Bear-knuckle boxing breaks your hands, but it’s pretty safe all things considered, at the professional levels. Boxing using boxing gloves keeps your hands safe, but it turns your brains into scrambled eggs. The reason is that without gloves you break your hand before you provide enough force to seriously damage someone else’s brain; with boxing gloves your hands are protected, so you hit harder. (We’ll leave aside the issue of cheating.) They’ve found the same things with cars–as safety equipment increases, people take greater risks and get hurt worse.

  25. JulieC May 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Katherine – so these two busy bodies decided that walking down stairs with an infant is now unacceptable? Jeez. i live in a two story house so I spent the first year or two of my kids lives taking horrible risks! Who knew? Maybe we can outlaw two story homes.

    The other problem with this whole “safety” thing is you end up with college kids screaming that someone’s mere presence on a campus makes them feel “unsafe” and that speech/opinions they don’t like is actually violence.

  26. lollipoplover May 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    @James- I totally agree. Sometimes safety gear can cancel out rational thinking and lead to riskier behavior.

    When I asked my daughter about her bike crash, she very rationally explained that she had the choice of hitting a metal pole that is held up with concrete and prevents cars from driving on the bike path or a wooden fence with grass below, which she thought would hurt less. She was right.

    My kids are involved in so many sports and the amount of protective gear needed now vs. when I played these same sports is boggling. Softball now requires batters to have a helmet with a face cage and the infield must wear face guards when fielding. My daughter actually refused, because she said she couldn’t see, and I had to sign a form saying that this was our “choice” not to comply. For field hockey, they have to wear shin guards, mouth guards, and eye guards (I played over 30 years ago and only needed a mouth guard). I don’t even know if this amount of equipment makes them any safer, but it sure is expensive!

  27. shdd May 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    Adults dislike kids in elevators too. One of my neighbors won’t ride an elevator with anyone over 10 because she “might” get ill. I doubt that applies to her own grandchildren (2 of the 4 fall in the category).

    My husband said my high school daughter could not walk four blocks from a restaurant to her chorus concert. She was performing ( and needed to go early to warm up) while the rest of the adults chatted. Otherwise we would have to sit for nearly an hour in the uncomfortable auditorium chairs. My daughter told my husband if anyone gets too near her she will karate chop then skirt or no skirt.

  28. James May 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    “My kids are involved in so many sports and the amount of protective gear needed now vs. when I played these same sports is boggling.”

    I have had several people complain that they don’t see kids playing baseball anymore. I have brought this up to them. Kids are no longer allowed to just “play baseball”, they have to wear so much equipment that it’s not worth it unless you’re really, really into it. Same with practically any sport. Chesterton pointed out that if “doing X” always meant “doing it at a high level” it meant that the culture didn’t generally do X anymore; that’s where our culture is with a lot of sports.

    “Maybe we can outlaw two story homes.”

    Don’t even joke about that. Given the way building codes are changing, that’s a real possibility in some areas…. We live in a culture where round door knobs are forbidden in many buildings. I don’t put anything past these folks.

  29. jimc5499 May 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    A company that I used to work for had a picnic at a local resort. We rented the place for the day. There was a swimming pool but management said that the pool couldn’t be used because there was no lifeguard. I volunteered to be the lifeguard and was told that I was unqualified because I wasn’t certified. I was a Search and Rescue swimmer in the Navy, a while back but because I hadn’t taken the Red Cross Lifeguard course I wasn’t qualified.

    Unless somebody is trying to sell you something when you hear the term “safety” replace it with liability.

  30. SKL May 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    Oh golly, I’ve been maddened by being told “that’s not safe” when doing things with my kids. “Stuff it up your butt” is not something I’d say in front of my kids, but I sure thought it. 😛

    Then again, I’ve used it on my kids. The other day my 10yo decided to sit on the ~1.5′, ~45 degree overhang outside her window, holding her guinea pig and nothing else. Not sure why she thought that was a good idea, but since that window is on the second storey above the driveway, I thought it an unwise choice (even though I did similar things when my parents weren’t looking).

  31. Eric S May 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    @James: “If the kid bruises his leg doing something, he’ll either not do it again, or at least find a better way to do it!”

    I like the way your wife thinks. I’m the same way. Of course, I let them know what can happen first. Arm them with knowledge, the let them learn on their own. If they have a question, they can ask us. And if/when they do get hurt, they don’t cry. They get embarrassed, because they did the complete opposite of what they were told. They understand consequence of action, and the painful humility of not adhering. lol But they do learn quick. Plus it toughens them up, mentally and physically.

  32. CK May 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    I am so sick of hearing dumb rules prefaced by “for safety reasons”

  33. Steve May 11, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    Sometimes children hurting themselve, not to seriously, can be an important lesson.

    From Hogather by Terry Pratchett after Death gave a child a present she asked for.

    “You can’t give her that!” she screamed. “it’s not safe!”

    “It’s a sword”, said the Hogfather. “They’re not meant to be safe.”

    “She’s a child!” shouted Crumley

    “It’s educational.”

    “What if she cuts herself?”

    “That will be an important lesson.”

  34. donald May 11, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

    A Safety Advice Distributor (S.A.D. consultant) gets paid by investigating safety issues. If they don’t find potential dangers and provide solutions that increase safety, they don’t get paid. The link is a video that shows workplace Health and Safety that’s gone mad.

    Government and places of employment are required to spend X amount of $ on safety.

  35. SKL May 11, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    I like to say “she won’t do it twice” if someone warns me “your kid could ___ if you don’t stop her.”

    Also: “she won’t die.”

    It’s hard sometimes to resist the external pressure, but I do believe it makes kids safer in the long run.

  36. Dingbat May 11, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

    @ Donald Hahahaha! That’s hysterical.

    I’m not surprised that people are chastising parents for taking stairs now, but considering that we now live in a world where teenagers are accusing others of endangering their mental and physical health AND of “literally promoting physical violence” by not agree with their every opinion… nothing surprises me. They have weaponized it and are destroying learning institutions.

    Not an unusual thing to see from adults during McCarthyism or at other times, but it is highly suspect coming from the youth.

  37. Dingbat May 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    @Jessica. Good point!

    I spent time speaking to a Mom who was so terrified of kidnapping and Child Sex Trafficking that she wouldn’t let her kids play in their own yard. She said that she goes of their in case of lost & kidnapped plan, every single time they leave the house and before they go into each individual store while they are out, for their safety.

    Her kids are either a ball of anxiety who think Foodlion is a predatory war zone or they are tuning out any and all talk of safety while rolling their eyes. That’s absolutely not the only place it’s coming from.

  38. Dingbat May 12, 2017 at 12:04 am #

    Oh yeah… On a related weaponized safety/protection note that does involve adults and children (including adult ones)…

    I watched an interesting discussion on legislation in Canada today where some members of the senate accused people concerned about vague wording, terminology and lack of definitions involved that has already resulted in threats of job loss for some who work in institutions (with a current climate of extreme intolerance to differing views) where the legislation would apply, due to non threatening speech issues, before it has even passed.

    The whole thing was a hot mess but the way some of the senators spoke to people expressing concerned about vague language and threats to employment… that has actually happened prior to the bill passing… was appalling. They basically accused them of not caring about the “safety” of bullied children in schools, acted like the legislation would somehow stop bratty children from being bratty children (it could potentially pull young children into human rights tribunals over bullying which has already been watered down to anything that offends you for a nanosecond) and accused them of advocating for discrimination and genocide. None has ever said anything remotely violent on the matter, but one section of the lengthy legislation saying no one would be able to advocate for genocide, which is already covered in other legislation currently in place, was cherry picked and turned against them. You question a bill that advocate against genocide therefore you must be for it!! You question a bill that addresses protection and safety, therefore you’re an uncaring monster. They were simply asking for more clearly defined terms/definitions and a better understanding/peace of mind in relation to particular jobs (and one is a Lebanese immigrant who escaped Civil War & persecution of Jews in the 1970s and is all for basic protections/freedom from persecution).

    There is nothing more dangerous than the government using “safety”, “protections” and “the children” as an excuse to keep putting restrictive laws, on top of laws, on top of laws.

    (And there is noting more dangerous than parents/people who blindly follow)

  39. donald May 12, 2017 at 12:13 am #

    Yes. That video is hysterical. I’m not sure how much of it is real. Of course, the product that the workman is demonstrating is real. However, I’m sure that it’s aimed (pun intended) at hospitals and not workmen’s toilets. That being said, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if a workplace did buy them and soon got ridiculed. As I said in an earlier comment, the workplace MUST spend X amount of $ on safety stuff. This is a requirement forced upon them by the government AND insurance companies. (if you don’t do this then your insurance goes up)

  40. Dingbat May 12, 2017 at 12:55 am #

    He’s taking the piss to a new level. 😉 Its cute, and probably wouldn’t surprise many if it actually happened.

  41. Dingbat May 12, 2017 at 2:10 am #

    @ Donald

    I love the Steve Hughes bit about Health & Safety (starts about 2:20) and the other side of the same coin… political correctness… that is recommended afterward.

    George Carlin was railing about “soft language”
    years before

  42. donald May 12, 2017 at 2:10 am #

    “There is nothing more dangerous than the government using “safety”, “protections” and “the children” as an excuse to keep putting restrictive laws, on top of laws, on top of laws.”

    This happens a lot. This is why I keep bringing up the story of Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerers Apprentice. The magic brooms carry the water for Mickey. However, when he has enough water, he can’t make them stop! They keep bringing buckets of water even when Mickey Mouse is in danger of drowning!

    Today we are ‘drowning’ in safety and the water keeps coming!

  43. Craig May 12, 2017 at 2:38 am #

    Any news story, TV or print, seem to be mandated to use the words, “Safe”, Safety” or “At risk” so many timer per hour.

    It is mind control.

  44. Katie G May 12, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    The bullying part! Oh, yes! We live half a block from the church we attend, and there’s a big parking lot and also a swingset and some wooded space (pretty small, really) behind the building. It was absolutely ideal for my children (girl 10, boys 7 & 5) to ride bikes/scooters in the parking lot, play on the swingset, etc. I could actually shout from the door to call them home for lunch! But, eventually, I got a scolding email from a member of the church board saying that “someone had raised concerns about unsupervised children”. I’m almost certain I know who the “Someone” was and frankly it was at least as insulting that she didn’t come directly to us as to insist upon overriding our parenting decisions. Which is what ended up happening, despite my husband’s and my very firm insistence that we had given the children permission and trusted that they could stay out of the way of cars and not go off with anyone. The pastor gave in to “someone” rather than backing us up, despite his living next door at the manse and having previously found it quite pleasant to chat with the kids when they were there. At least he admitted forthrightly it was liability.

  45. Emily May 12, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    >>He’s taking the piss to a new level. Its cute, and probably wouldn’t surprise many if it actually happened.<<

    I just watched that video, and it can't be real, because if that device is meant to be a disposable, single-use item, it'd be a crazy waste of plastic (not to mention money, to keep an adequate supply of them on hand, and people-power, because of the increased amount of garbage it'd create), or it'd just exacerbate the problem of infections that it's trying to prevent, by having all the men use the same device. Also, I actually lived in Australia for two years, and I found that a lot of people there would say something in a serious tone of voice, that they didn't really mean, and then silently (or not-so-silently) laugh at whoever took it seriously. It was never mean, because it was completely reciprocal, but my point is, I think that this is an example of that–a guy playing a joke on the whole Internet.

  46. Emily May 12, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    I coach my daughter’s Girls on on the Run team. We ran our practice 5k a couple of weeks ago and as I was driving to the school, I realized that our original route wasn’t going to work because the sidewalks were blocked, so I quickly planned a new route. That route involved running along amphitheater style seats. As I was measuring the distance, I told the moms sitting on the seats that we’d be running through. One mom mustered up her most sanctimonious voice and said, “don’t you think that’s really dangerous!?!?”

    I’m happy to report that not one of my girls fell to their death that day.

  47. Papilio May 12, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    Aussie you say? *COUGH COUGH bike helmet law COUGH COUGH*

    I agree with others who pointed out warnings just aren’t effective anymore if kids hear it 40 times a day (cry wolf). Do these people really think kids will perfectly distinguish the ‘I shouldn’t do this because it could kill me’ warnings from the ‘I shouldn’t do this because mommy is paranoid and she’ll yell at me, again *eye roll*’ warnings?

  48. Cassie May 12, 2017 at 8:25 am #

    @ Mark Roulo

    Not a gender thing, I am female and have the same response… well, with the addition of a rather aussie “She’ll be right”

  49. Cassie May 12, 2017 at 8:27 am #


    Drop Bears are a case in point.

  50. Roger the Shrubber May 12, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    My wife may be somewhat rare in this, but she’s perfectly happy to let our kids suffer the normal injuries of childhood. If the kid bruises his leg doing something, he’ll either not do it again, or at least find a better way to do it!
    We call those ‘Summer Legs’ and they are a point of pride for the boys.

  51. Momof8 May 12, 2017 at 9:50 am #


    Tell them you’ve done the research and learned that it’s safer for them in the car. They’re more likely to get hit by a car, walking in the parking lot, than to get hurt if they stay put. So you’ve made this educated decision for the sake of safety, not despite the risks. Feel free to act a little self-righteous and condescending 😀

  52. James May 12, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    “As I said in an earlier comment, the workplace MUST spend X amount of $ on safety stuff. This is a requirement forced upon them by the government AND insurance companies. (if you don’t do this then your insurance goes up)”

    And this demonstrably makes us LESS safe. I work in hazardous environments–construction sites, SuperFund sites, that kind of thing. There are hazards I need to know about: blind spots on equipment, the effects of contamination, local flora/fauna, that kind of thing. These are real threats that I WILL encounter, and would like to know how to deal with. But if that information is buried in a 600 page safety manual, I can’t find it if I need it.

  53. Emily May 12, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    @Cassie–Yes, I remember the “drop bear” hoax–in fact, I remember being warned about it before leaving for Australia, or soon after arrival…..except, the warnings weren’t about drop bears themselves; they were about, “don’t believe an Australian who tells you about drop bears.”

  54. JL May 12, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    Beanie, I had to laugh when you mentioned playing dodgeball in PE. My son was paying dodgeball last week with a group of boys, dislocated his knee, and broke a piece of his kneecap. He said (jokingly), “See? Schools are right! Dodgeball is dangerous!”

  55. Mark Roulo May 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    lollipoplover: “My kids are involved in so many sports and the amount of protective gear needed now vs. when I played these same sports is boggling. Softball now requires batters to have a helmet with a face cage and the infield must wear face guards when fielding. My daughter actually refused, because she said she couldn’t see, and I had to sign a form saying that this was our “choice” not to comply. For field hockey, they have to wear shin guards, mouth guards, and eye guards (I played over 30 years ago and only needed a mouth guard). I don’t even know if this amount of equipment makes them any safer, but it sure is expensive!”

    I have a lot of sympathy for this position, but my son plays baseball and over the last ten years we have seen:
        A) One kid take a fastball to the face. He was done for the year, needed reconstructive surgery and doesn’t play anymore.
        B) Another kid take a fastball to the face which won him a trip to the emergency room, but did *not* require reconstructive surgery.
        C) A third kid look away during warmup catch, take a ball to the face, and miss the bulk of the season.

    The first two cases would have ended much better if the kids were wearing grills along with helmets. But in baseball the kids (and professionals!) tend to not do this until they experience (or sometimes see) someone get drilled by a 70+ MPH fastball. *THEN* the face protection gets added (e.g. Giancarlo Stanton). But only after a bunch of surgery. After event (B), one of the kids on my son’s team started wearing a grill. But this vanished by the next season.

    I’m not sure what the correct level of safety is, but a blanket annoyance on things like face protection seems unwarranted. And what we consider “normal” today was new at one point, and often frowned upon by traditionalists.

    In the very early 1900s, catchers did not wear shin guards. I can imagine an 80 MPH foul tip into a shin protected only by pants as being “a bad thing.” Today, we’d consider not wearing shin guards madness. Maybe we are wrong? Or maybe shin guards are a good idea.

  56. lollipoplover May 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

    @Mark Roulo-
    I know, my son played baseball for years, they didn’t require any face protection, just batting helmets. When he was 10, he was waiting in the dugout for his turn at bat and got up when the coach called his name. A teammate of his decided at that moment to take a practice swing and smashed my son in the mouth with the bat, he spit out half of his permanent tooth.

    The coached yelled at the player as swinging bats was not allowed in the dugout and he just injured my son. The mom of this kid later called the coach (who is a good friend of ours) to yell at him for reprimanding her child! We paid a ridiculous amount to our dentist to get it fixed and the kid never even apologized, but I do get the danger of kids, bats, and balls that can do a lot of damage.

    My daughter says the face mask makes it really hard to see when fielding but she has really good reflexes and hand eye coordination. She doesn’t get it from me, I once tried to catch a foul ball and rolled myself out of my chair into a ditch (my daughter was mortified…and I did not catch the ball).

  57. TRH May 13, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    First off, I agree that overuse or incorrect use of any word may create these situations. BUT and there always are BUTs, right? To the caregivers leaving young children in cars: Several years ago when we lived in North Dakota a mom got out of the car (leaving her 20 month old fastened securely in his car seat) to help the store clerk load her groceries. Just a few moments later, the child had gotten out of the car seat, climbed into the front seat, put the car in gear, and no one was able to stop it as it rolled downhill across the parking lot picking up speed and into the side of a restaurant. Minor injuries to the people in the main booth it took out, minor injuries to the child, mother forever traumatized…seemed like a good idea at the time, the child had never done anything like this before, the mother did not generally leave the child in the car alone, the child hadn’t shown any previous interest in driving, playing with the steering wheel, etc. — I knew the family. I get that parents really do make hard decisions all day every day, I just don’t want this to ever happen to any other family…a few feet in the other direction and the car would have ended up on a busy street with lots of traffic.

  58. SanityAnyone? May 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    I hear people use safety reasons to say no to kids because they don’t want to bother with other reasons like “because I said so”, “because it’s only for adults”, “because that room is off limits and you don’t need to know why”, “because I don’t want you to have it”, “because you’re annoying me”, “because I say no as a knee-jerk reaction, it’s just easier”, “because i want you to do what everyone else does here”. It’s easier for a kid to argue with any of the above, harder to argue with safety. It’s manipulative and misleading. People use safety often to assert control as a matter of habit.

  59. sexhysteria May 15, 2017 at 1:35 am #

    Safety is also an attempt to create the “new man” like the Italian Fascists claimed to be doing. They used to call nonconformity “political crime.”