Warnings, Waivers & Wild Worries! Like the Pre-K That Keeps Kids’ Photos in a “Secure Location”

Hi Folks! I’m trying to gather examples of warnings, waivers and official worires that annoy, amuse or outrage you, especially regarding your kids. For instance, over in England  schools are forbidding parents from taking pictures at plays. One sports program requires shutter-happy parents to wear a special ARM BAND if they’re going to snap pix. In this amazing atdbtanyhn
, Josie Appleton, head of The Manifesto Club, writes that the “Robin Hood primary and nursery school in Nottinghamshire says its photographs are stored in a ‘secure location’ for not more than four years, after which they are ‘privately destroyed.'” Like government secrets!

I’m speaking at a conference about this kind of stuff in November and I’ve got a lot of wonderful examples from you already. But if you’ve got any more — let’s hear! L.   (who can’t quite figure out why, at the end of this video, you go right into my next-to-latest video…but so be it) 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB22r7uUnvg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

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81 Responses to Warnings, Waivers & Wild Worries! Like the Pre-K That Keeps Kids’ Photos in a “Secure Location”

  1. Andy August 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Waivers have nothing to do with protecting the kids, it has everything to do with protecting the organization that requires you to sign the waiver. Oh, by the way, I need you to sign a waiver so that I’m not responsible if this post offends anyone.

  2. Emily August 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    When my brother started grade nine, my mom had to sign a waiver for him to participate in gym class. The waiver said something about acknowledging that the physical education program involved (shocker) physical activity, which could result in “cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, broken bones, and/or death,” or something to that effect……..but, at our school, P.E. was mandatory in grade nine (you need at least one P.E. credit), so I don’t know if it was possible to “opt out.” My mom, who’s a lawyer, signed the form, and consented to my brother taking gym, but said that it would never hold up in court, because there was no stated option to say “no.” Anyway, this was in September of 2001, and three years earlier, when I started grade nine, there was no such form–everyone just took their year of P.E. in grade nine, and that was that. Now, I wish my mom would have said “no” on my behalf, because I hated sports, but in the bigger sense, the excessive use of warnings and waivers and permission slips can have a “slippery slope” effect–first, it’s for field trips, then gym classes, then sex ed class, then it’s “I give Johnny permission to use scissors,” which leaves it open for some parents NOT to let their offspring use scissors, which is just insane.

    By the way, now that I remember it, when I was in grade ten, we also had to get permission forms signed to see a play in the auditorium at school, possibly because it was taking time out of classes…….but that’s still a flimsy reason, because attending a live theatre performance is also an educational activity.

  3. Emily August 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Edited to add: When I said “mandatory year of P.E.,” I meant “mandatory semester of P.E.”

  4. Tara August 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    This isn’t specifically for kids’ activities, but the warning on the box of Midol that says not to use it if you have an enlarged prostate cracks me up every time.

  5. Laura (@kyrielle) August 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    The door into our daycare (in a sleepy suburb) has a keypad that you must type a four-digit code on to enter the center. (Everyone uses the same code, not individualized, thank goodness.) Okay, there’s not always staff right there, and that at least keeps down on “people wander in looking for a restroom” I imagine – but there is a sign posted to not let in anyone who isn’t immediate family.

    Not “anyone you don’t know” – immediate family. We collectively violate that one all the time by holding the door for other daycare families we know when the parents have their hands full, and the day care staff does too, so it’s not being followed to the letter, but really?

  6. Joanna August 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    It shows the next video, because you posted a playlist, not a single video. If you want just one video (beginning with peanut butter) change the link to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB22r7uUnvg

  7. Lihtox August 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    @Tara: It’s amusing :), but there’s no reason a man couldn’t take Midol: the basic version is tylenol, caffeine, and a diuretic (the last one might not be terribly useful to a man with a headache, granted), and the “extended relief” version is identical to Aleve.


    The only thing that’s for women is the marketing; I’ll bet there are plenty of men who have taken Midol for pain.

  8. Barb August 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Yesterday I bought a new dorm sized refrigerator for drinks, it came with keys to lock it, I assumed to keep dorm mates out of it, but when we got it all unboxed there was a large yellow sticker attached to it that told us to keep it locked to prevent children from becoming trapped inside. First of it would have to be a very small child and a small tap on the inside of the door would open it up.

  9. Melissa August 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    In 2009, President Obama gave a speech directed at schoolchildren for their first day of school. It was advertised as a welcome back pep talk and many schools opted to show it live. The middle school where I teach sent home permission slips. Only children whose parents signed permission slips would be allowed to leave class to watch the speech in the cafeteria. Viewing the president’s speech about school required permission slips.

  10. Jessica August 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I wrote under another post but I’ll might as well repeat it: in a pair of sweat pants (american brand) the label read (among other warnings); keep away from open flame/fire. Might catch fire.”
    Oh gee, really?!
    I like to torch my clothes every now and then just to be sure.

  11. Brooks August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    I will try to find for you the Alabama Girl Scout Health Form we had to fill out this summer. It listed all the specific life-saving measures that we did or did not want them to take in case of emergency. These included CPR, epi-pen, calling 911, etc…. No joke. I was stunned.

  12. Liz August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    A sign next to a Toronto District School Board playground that is “designed for users 2 to 5 years of age”:
    1. Keep your hands and feet to yourself
    2. Walk, Don’t Run
    3. No pushing or shoving
    4. Think Before you Act

    Great advice for the 2 to 5 year old set (or any kid for that matter).

  13. padrooga August 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

  14. padrooga August 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    @Brooks… I’ll take a resuscitation with everything, thanks. Can I get that to go?

  15. Lihtox August 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    “Don’t Run”…and soon you won’t be able to, carrying around all that extra fat. Healthy kids run, and I think that’s great, even if they run into things or fall over once in a while. (In school or at home I can understand. At a *playground* though?)

  16. liz August 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    And they say law schools are pumping out too many graduates who can’t find jobs. If everything’s a risk that needs a warning attached, lawyers will be plenty busy!

  17. Christina August 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Google Bill Cosby and Midol. Hilarious!

  18. Suzanne August 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I’ve seen the same ‘no running’ warning at playgrounds, I thought that was what playground were for. Silly me.

  19. Emily August 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    @Barb–about the fridge thing, that company probably also makes full-sized fridges, and they just put the same sticker on every fridge to save time. It’s still funny, though. Also, Lihtox, I agree–kids should be ENCOURAGED to run on playgrounds, because all that energy has to go somewhere. I think adults have gotten a bit heavy-handed with the “sit down, shut up” mentality these days, and it’s not healthy.

  20. Sarah August 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    @Liz, I’ve seen very similar signs on park playgrounds here in the Seattle, WA area. Don’t you love how they post these signs but then do absolutely nothing more? Even if they had someone monitoring the playground, good luck enforcing these rules! An active two-year-old (who is at the playground to run!) is really going to listen. 🙂

    It also cracks me up that my four-year-old isn’t supposed to play on the equipment that’s marked as for ages 6 to 12. He is more than capable of playing on it! Where do they get these standards? Why are they trying to restrict kids to things that are below their level?

    I know, it’s to cover their butts, but it gets tiresome. All of these limits and restrictions in the name of safety are not really protecting anyone, and it’s just lowering the bar in terms of what our kids are expected to be able to do.

  21. Sandra Parsons August 3, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    This kind of stuff annoys me to no end. Incidentally, things here in the UK seem just as bad as on the other side of the pond, and I have on more than one occasion vented about it in my blog.

    Here is my take on warning signs and risk minimising measures http://islandmonkeys.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/someone-save-me-from-health-and-safety/ . Some of the comments are quite interesting, too.

  22. Selby August 3, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    1. Keep your hands and feet to yourself
    2. Walk, Don’t Run
    3. If you fall down while running and hurt yourself, see #2
    4. No pushing or shoving
    5. If you get pushed or shoved back, see #4
    6. Think Before you Act
    7. Think again

  23. Laura August 3, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    I’m a preschool teacher in North Carolina. Most of our crazy rules come from the local health department. For instance, the way we fold put the mats we use at naptime? Regulated. In a classroom with even one child still in a diaper/ pull up, every toy needs to we washed and sanitized every night. The strangest, though, is that if we wear gloves to change a dirty diaper, we are required to wash our hands when we take the gloves off.

  24. mrandmrsvi August 3, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    The playground at one of our local preschools has a rule sign that says “no running or jumping.”

  25. Jenn August 3, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    I thought the whole point of playgrounds was to have somewhere to run and jump?? Of course, I have been known to play tag with my kids INSIDE (gasp) my house, around corners, and the coffee table, and with nerf disc guns. You’ll shoot your eye out! 😛

  26. Emily Volz August 3, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    At my high school (I am going in to 12th grade), I participate in the gifted program. About every month or so, we have the opportunity to miss one class and view an educational teleconference in the library. The form for this must be signed by every teacher you have, your parents, and you. Just to walk upstairs to the library! At the end of the school year last year, I was signed up to take an AP test for college credit. My AP English class walked together to the church one block away from the school, and for this we needed not only a signed waiver from our parents, but a two page emergency medical form! Apparently I am old enough to drive a car but not old enough to cross the street by myself(that’s all I had to do to get to the church). For every field trip, we need a new emergency medical form, we can’t just use the one we fill out at the beginning of the year! I will be living on my own in a year, but I guess I am too fragile and incompetent to walk upstairs to the library or cross the street.

  27. fudgepickles August 3, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I once read a warning on the lawnmower I had to use to cut the grass. This is when I was in high school. The label had a picture of a hand being cut by a mower blade and said, “WARNING! DO NOT stick hands, fingers, toes or other body parts under the mower while it is running.” It also had another warning which said, “WARNING! DO NOT use to trim bushes.”

  28. Amy C August 3, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    2 of my kids are taking swimming lessons this summer. I was in a store looking at dive sticks to use for my daughter to practice picking up objects off the bottom of the pool. On the package it had a warning that “All underwater games are dangerous”. Because I guess people aren’t smart enough to figure out that they shouldn’t try to inhale when they’re under water or that they shouldn’t let their child who doesn’t know how to hold his breath play with them in the water.

  29. Diana August 3, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    Sadly enough, all this stupidity of waivers comes from stupid parents and organizations tired of dealing with them. You know the ones … precious little Johnny scrapes his knee while playing on the playground and the parent freaks out demanding to know how this happened and, obviously, the teachers are incompetent because they weren’t watching him closer. Because precious Johnny got a scrape he has to go to the doctor now and YOU (the school) will be receiving the bill! (REALLY?!?)

    Or, OMG!, you dared to put little Johnny’s picture of him holding his lovely art work on the school’s website which is on the INTERNET?!? A freak will see him and start stalking him now!

    I’ve have literally seen both cases and many more while waiting to pick up my children from school and all I can do is shake my head.

    My son fell out of a very small tree he had managed to climb in Kindergarten and busted his mouth up as well as chipping a baby tooth. The school was TERRIFIED that I was going to throw a fit and sue them! His an active child that it took him MAYBE 30 seconds to get up the tree and, watching closely or not, accidents happen! I know this and he learned his lesson about climbing trees. I felt more sorry for the pale-faced school nurse and teacher who was in tears because she was so afraid of what would happen than I did for my son who was asking for a clean shirt and could he go back and play now.

  30. Mark August 3, 2012 at 4:42 am #


    A surprising number of people will try to use a lawnmower as a hedge trimmer, picking it up by placing one hand on the handle and wrapping the other around the blade guard. This leads to an alarming number of hospital visits for amputated fingers. The warning is there to reduce the number of lawsuit that result.

  31. Kathryn August 3, 2012 at 5:13 am #

    My bag of Corn Nuts today had a warning: Do not give to children under 6.

  32. Emily August 3, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    @Amy C–Instead of dive sticks, why not just use pennies or marbles?

    @Kathryn–Really? That’s funny, because I always thought Corn Nuts were a healthier snack than the ever-popular (but equally choke-able) potato chips or Chee-tos, neither of which have a “minimum age” for consumption. Anyway, I’m not a parent, but I have worked with kids, and I’d give a child of any age past the teething stage Corn Nuts before I gave them a lot of other processed junk that doesn’t come with a disclaimer.

  33. Sarah August 3, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    @Diana, you are so right. Schools operate in fear of litigation, always. As if they weren’t cash-strapped enough! I don’t know why no one expects kids to take some responsibility (or just face the consequences) for their actions. EVERYTHING is the schools’ fault!

  34. K August 3, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    As a professor that does field trips – I am constantly warned by some “powers-that-be” at the school about the risk of lawsuit. So, really… how often do parents of ADULT children sue their kids’ college? Isn’t there room for accidents assuming one has used due diligence? I’ve never had to hand out more than a band-aid… but, it’s bound to happen some day. And, college kids are technically ADULTS.

    In other local schools:

    I was advising a local science teacher on curricular ideas. She was really having a hard time coming up with fun ways to teach biology… in a school that has a new rule against keeping “any live organisms” in the classroom. I am not sure that they thought this through entirely, as that would include things like houseplants, fish, frogs, sea monkeys, dirt (live fungi), bacteria (which is already on everything), and…. saaaay, does that mean no students… or teachers?

    Now, these middle school kids are forced to draw organisms, or color them in, in their workbooks… no wonder some kids hate science.

    As I pointed out in an earlier post, several local municipalities recently added a rule that all volunteers (student teachers, etc.) must be background checked prior to entering school property. I don’t work with them anymore. I would pass any background checks; but I find it insulting and disingenuous. Sandusky would have passed such a test until last November, do we feel better about those checks now?

    At my kids’ former daycare (they are older now):

    We needed to provide a doctor’s note for any “special dietary instructions”… such as, make my kid eat some vegetables or protein before he loads up on five or six muffins. Until I troubled a pediatrician to pen that note, my youngest kid would literally eat only at daycare on weekdays, such dietary gems as: fruit loops for breakfast, chewy granola snack, six or seven muffins for lunch, and graham crackers for second snack – skipping more nutritious fare at home). Today, years later, he has terrible dietary habits, and completely different from his brothers.

    I also needed a doctor’s note for the daycare to administer: sunscreen, diaper cream, lip balm, or hand lotion. Even with the note, the staff refused to do sunscreen as that had to be applied before school in the morning (because we all know that it lasts all day, right?).

    At the elementary school:

    At their current school, we have to sign something to indicate that we know they have an upcoming test. We have to sign their weekly folder and initial and return any “F” work. We have to sign pledges about homework and so on… and we are teaching them personal responsibility, how? I keep pointing out to my son that I’ve already finished [whatever] grade – this stuff is his job. I’m happy to help, but I resent the suggestion that his work is my responsibility.

  35. Lyndsay August 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    One of our local playgrounds actually has equipment that has instructions for “suggested play.” I can’t say I’ve ever seen a child stop to read the instructions and find out it should go monkey bars-climber-slide.

  36. Erica Kain August 3, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    I love the sign at our local playground. It says that the play structure is authorized for children ages 3-5 in the US, and ages 2-5 in Canada. Apparently Canadians are a more advanced breed.

  37. Merrick August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    I was not allowed to put sunscreen on MY OWN KID while volunteering at Summer Day Camp.

  38. ElizabethKay August 3, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    During my divorce 6 years ago, I had a judge order me to take MY OWN, totally g rated, fully clothed photo off of a polyamory website because “it is a porn site and anyone could see your photo and start stalking you and your kids”.

    It was a website where the members talked about their family lives not their sex lives. We shared stain removal tips and recipes that were flexible for feeding groups from 4 to 20. We shared our feelings when our significant others let us down, and when they didn’t. I was not much different than any other moms group web site except there were men there too.But to that judge I was endangering the life of my child because I talked to people online about my life.

  39. Scott August 3, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    When I pick up my 4-year-old at school, sometimes I bring the 2-year-old along to play with the bigger kids a little (this is okay with the teachers). But once, my 2-year-old had a sippy cup of water, and I was told that we HAD to put it away or go sit with it at the snack table. STATE LAW. Because apparently a 2-year-old girl, directly supervised by her father, happily drinking a cup of water, is a hazard of some kind. Though I’m not sure what kind.

  40. JM August 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    My cottage cheese, Cream cheese and reddiwhip all have warning that they contain milk. and my honey nut chex is gluten free but it contains nuts.

    At the preschool I work at now we have a waiver to tell the parents that their child’s picture will be taken and posted to the schools facebook page only a few parents didn’t sign it.

    I have to spend my whole day telling 3 year olds what not to do…
    Don’t run up the slide, Don’t climb to the top of the climber, get off of the table, sit down and be quiet. And my class is always scraped up from the ”safe” woodchips when they fall it scapes their hands and faces then I have to fill out a form about how this kid was running and fell got a small scape on his left cheek which was the washed with soap and water and had a band aid applied but we didn’t have to call an ambulance and we have to write down what the child’s reaction was and it even has a box to check if we consoled the child, Who is watching my class while I spend forever filling out this form every time a kid falls over. All because the office is afraid of parents reactions. Oh and I didn’t put on gloves before I applied the band aid to the tiny almost nonexistent cut. I also didn’t put on gloves and wash my hands after helping little ”sofie” pull up her pants since she insists she doesn’t know how ( and when she had to use the bathroom during outside time I sent another 3 year old to pull her pants up while I watched form the door instead of calling for the office) The joys of preschool… that’s my rant for the day

  41. sweetpea2200 August 3, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I totally agree that this issue has gotten out of hand, but some of these issues are real. Like I do not post pictures of my children online, because without getting into the nasty details who could want to hurt them. Or, the sunscreen sunscreen, I do want them to ask, because I do not want that terrible stuff on my kids. As for field trips, yes, I want to know where and when my child is going somewhere and who is responsible because their idea of maybe responsible of my child and my idea are probably different. As for the gym class and playground, my kid is the one always getting hurt and is ever stubborn. I remember as a kids my bloody hands and knees for the monkey bars were a badge of honor. As of the medical release, I would prefer they have that then have to wait for me to arrive to give my child an epi shot or an inhaler during an asthma attack.

    And, I personal would be pissed if children were watching Obama’s speech, I mean really that is bring politics into the classroom. However, I remember in first having to have your parents permission to watch ET, and we had a Jehovah Witness student in our classroom who could not so I sat with him and got to know him.

    Anyway, my point is some of these are actually real concerns for parents.

  42. pentamom August 3, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I’m just smiling at the thought of the 2 year olds reading the sign.

  43. pentamom August 3, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    JM, that’s nothing. When you buy peanut butter nowadays, the label says, “Contains peanuts.”

  44. dfg August 3, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    My son was at a day care in which all bottles of breast milk had to be labeled in bright red stickers “human breast milk” with the name and date(that part I get). That way, everyone would know it was a potentially contagious substance. When infants were fed, the person holding the bottle had to wear latex gloves. Needless to say, we have found other daycare.

  45. spitlermaggie August 3, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    My local Girl Scout council has decided that all individuals driving girls on field trips and outings, parent or otherwise, must be a registered and paid-in-full member of Girl Scouts! Even if it’s a 10 minute ride and drop off. So even though Mrs. M regularly and safely drives her daughter and her daughter’s friends around to various activities during the week, a quick jaunt to the Humane Society during a meeting automatically becomes filled with red tape. The $12.00 membership fee isn’t the problem. It’s the hassle and the back ground check that will turn a lot of people off. We have a difficult enough time finding drivers, and there have been several instances when a parent who agreed to drive has had to cancel at the last minute and another parent (or grandparent, or uncle) stepped in. So…either we’d have to break the rules (it’s Girl Scouts, people! We’re supposed to be positive role models and all that!) or tell several girls that they just couldn’t go. And they wonder why they’re having a difficult time getting adults involved….

  46. Taradlion August 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Not kid related, but most moronic warning is the “don’t drive with windshield sun shade in place”…warning.

  47. M. August 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Lenore,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog lately. I don’t have children and likely never will, but I love children and so have a vested interest in the subject.

    My upbringing was mostly benign neglect as a child and extremely laissez-faire as a teenager; it wasn’t until well into adulthood that I realized my parents did it deliberately so that I could become strong, independent, and confident. If I did have children, I would try to raise them with the more structured and supportive but equally empowering Free Range practices discussed here.

  48. Andy August 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I ignore playground age limits and remove kid from those structures that I consider dangerous for him. Is there actually someone who does that differently?

    Some of those signs are ridiculous, like 3-6 age limit on slide that any 18 month old can without adult holding him (and most 18 months old are able to climb). I do not think that 6 years old would have much fun.

  49. FiSyd August 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I think, here in Australia, a daycare that refused to apply sunscreen would be a very empty daycare.

    @Sweetpea2200 – I think we all recognize that there are always going to be special circumstances where parents have particular concerns or specific preferences, but surely as these are the exception rather than the rule, those parents should opt out rather than forcing everyone else to opt in?

  50. K August 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    @dfg – We had a similar experience where our daycare was going to treat breastmilk similarly (as a biohazard).

    I paid a trained lactation consultant $100 to do an in-service for the daycare staff and administators and set them straight on how to manage “liquid gold” (and, if you’ve pumped, you know what I mean). They got an education that helped all breastfeeding moms, and they started treating human milk as the precious resource that it is.

    Should I have had to incur that expense? No. But, there are scant daycares available to infants in our area.

  51. buffy August 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    @sweetpea2200, please explain how your child is hurt by someone seeing his/her picture online.

  52. Beth August 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Here’s what I don’t understand about the obsession over kids’ photos being in the public eye. Hopefully I can word this correctly so it makes sense.

    Most adults are attracted to adults of the opposite gender, can we agree on that? Yet there are a lot of adult’s photos online. For example, The Symphony Chorus in my city is photographed quite frequently, as is the Orchestra and many of their members in smaller groups, and neither organization assures members that photos are in a secure location and will be later destroyed, and no releases or permission slips are required from the anyone before they are photographed. And that is just one example of ADULTS being photographed, and those photos being made available tfor viewing by others who might be attracted to them, but with no attendant hysteria. Thinking about this makes the craziness over kids photos, which are going to attract a very tiny minority of people in a sexual way (if any), that much stranger.

  53. Emily Volz August 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Oh, and another example. Last Christmas, my mom bought me a necklace from Target. On the tag, it said “not for children 15 and under). Seriously? A 15 year old is barely a child, and a year away from getting their drivers license! And in some states, 15 year olds can drive! I guess a 15 year old can drive, but might strangle themselves while putting on a necklace. I’m sure most kids have put on their own necklaces since they were toddlers-think about dress up! Also, my mouthwash states that “any child 12 or under should be closely supervised while using this product”. My toothpaste said the same thing. Because I’m sure that most 12 year olds still have their parents brush their teeth for them.

  54. valleycat1 August 4, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    Sleep aids that warn “may cause drowsiness.” They could at least say WILL (or should) cause drowsiness!

    All the warnings on toys for older children that say they are not for households with children under age x. As if any household with multiple kids is going to only have items in it safe for the youngest.

    Slightly off topic – when my daughter entered elementary school eons ago, there was an option to either provide the child’s social security number or have the school assign an ID #. I must have been the first parent they’d encountered who opted for the school-assigned ID & they tried to deny it could be done. They figured it out.

  55. valleycat1 August 4, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    A nearby town is having an issue with dress codes. To minimize high schoolers identifying with gangs, the administration has decided to limit what colors of clothing can be worn to school because they are associated with gangs. Two of the prohibited colors are the school colors; another color is white. As high schoolers themselves are commenting, using color as gang ID is more about the attitude & even specific type of garments/accessories in a given color, not any random clothing item.

  56. kelly varga August 4, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    My son’s first grade class had a wonderful assembly on exotic animals – our school decided last minute that they would not be allowed to pet the wallaby, because we had not gotten permission slips ahead of time stating that the kids were not allergic. How do you know if you are allergic to a wallaby until you pet one? 🙂

  57. Yan Seiner August 4, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    @sweatpea: One of the major reasons I send my kids to school is to get exposed to ideas different from mine. So if the school wants them to listen to a President’s speech, that’s fine. I may or may not agree with the sitting President, but he is the President. That in itself will lead to a discussion as to why I think he’s right or wrong.

    Ditto for the responsibility. Maybe my ideas of raising children are radically different from others. So my kids get exposed to other ideas. That’s a good thing. I had a talk with my daughter yesterday about one of her friends; I consider her behavior unacceptable in our house. At their house, OK, but not at our house. So my kids learn that rules may be different in different places.

  58. Amy C August 4, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Emily I ended up not buying the dive sticks since it was $5 when I’m sure I can find something at home that will work just fine. The last time we went to the pool I didn’t have anything so I just used my (waterproof) watch. It didn’t hurt the watch, but I was hovering because I was afraid she’d lose it. I figured the dive sticks would be easier for my new swimmers to get, but I was annoyed by the warning on them and all the other pool toys.

  59. Ruth Kenrick-Smith August 4, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    One of my friends living in Vermont was surprised to see that the form she had to fill out before allowing her son to go on a Scout camping trip banned the kids from using/bringing tomahawks & penknives. Maybe not totally misguided… but a world away from the movement Baden Powell began, and the Scouting trips we had as kids. I think it’s awesome that I learned how to split kindling, whittle cooking sticks, build campfires, and carve lovely trinkets. I taught my kids how to handle cooking knives from the age of 4, and this competence allows them to be independent and to cook amazingly well like their chef Mom. I believe that kids should be exposed to these sort of experiences to minimize harm (FYI: my kids have only ever cut themselves ONCE each. They learned a healthy respect for blades and have never hurt themselves since – they got a plaster, a kiss & a valuable lesson from the experience). Now my 12 year old daughter scoffs at her school’s Home-Ec classes where they don’t allow the kids to use sharp (or even the correct size) knives for cutting. Don’t these “experts” teaching my child know that if you use a dull blade to chop with, the extra force needed to push the blade through the food can do massively more traumatic damage to skin than a cut from a sharp tool?

  60. Susan Case August 4, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Lenore – my husband heard me laughing at your book – and asked me about it. I told him we needed to help you find warning labels. He has this one for you: There is NO gluten in Rice – therefore Rice Cakes (those horrible Styrofoam-tasting round things people eat when they want to lose weight) do not contain Gluten. So there is no need to put “GLUTEN FREE” on the Rice Cakes packaging label. Here is About.com definition of rice: :Plain rice — regardless of whether it’s whole-grain brown rice, polished white rice, long-grained basmati rice or even exotic black rice — is always considered gluten-free.” Rice cakes are made of rice and salt. Also FAT FREE hard candy does not contain fat because it is just sugar. Hope this helps. Back to reading your wonderful funny true book!

  61. kurokami77 August 4, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    There are two things I can think of off the top of my head:

    1. The “If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a doctor before use” warning found on my prenatal vitamins. So, I have to double check with a doctor that the vitamins specifically made for pregnant women are okay for . . . pregnant women? Really?

    2. (Not specifically related to kids in general) My friends who own horse ranches have to have every visitor sign a waiver (usually updated once a year) that states their recognition that horses are animals, and as such can act unpredictably. Um, really? Who doesn’t know that a) horses are animals, and b) animals act like animals?

    The only part of the waiver that I see as logical is mentioning the law regarding equine activities. (Basically as long as the owner isn’t being an idiot, any bad stuff that happens to you is risk you accepted and are responsible for.) But that’s really just a brief footnote along the lines of “oh yeah, and this law exists, now sign here” on all the waivers I’ve seen. Plus, there are very obvious signs stating that everyone in the horse areas are considered participants under that law. You can’t exactly be there without being reminded of it all the time. So, is it really necessary to sign a waiver?

  62. Sarah August 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    As this post is regarding Britain I thought I would leave this link here, I hope you catch it.
    It really does make one want to weep for the children. We are talking about a point on a medal that is what, half an inch long at most?. I can only assume this fathers children write with fingers dipped in the blood of their dearly departed school chums, the ones that have been murdered unto death with hardened play doh, filed down lego bricks and sharpened book corners. Well if pointy medals are a threat to life and limb he’s hardly likely to allow them access to pens and pencils, is he?.

  63. Sarah (UK). August 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Oh, and on the actual subject (waivers etc) my youngest child (10) is lucky enough to attend a school that has an out door swimming pool. My other two children (now 12 and 14) also attended the same school. Since my eldest joined in 2004, I have had to send in either one or two notes a year, stating that I ‘allow’ my child to use swimming goggles in the pool. Over the years I have forgotten to do this a handful of times, only to be greeted, at home time, by a very red eyed, somewhat tearful child, berating me for having forgotten the all important ‘note’. Why the school needs a note from me, allowing my child to wear the swimming goggles that I obviously went out, bought and packed in their swimming kit has never been fully explained to me. I have yet to be asked for a ‘note’ that ‘allows’ my child to wear the swimming trunks/costume I packed, or use the towel I also provided. Is there some kind of hidden danger in ‘swimming goggles’ that I am, as yet, unaware of?. Perhaps all those hastily scribbled ‘notes’ were all that saved my child from a hideous and untimely death from ‘unsolicited goggle wearing’.
    Sarah (UK).
    P.S – I can only thank the lord of health and safety that at the end of year ‘swimming gala’ my child was not only ‘noted’ and therefore goggled enough to win 3 out of 4 races, but that no idiot handed out nasty, sharp meddles, with which he could easily have stabbed himself to death with!.

  64. BackwardForward August 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Has anyone else seen this picture?

    This is a great way to keep our kids safe! *sarcasm*

  65. Susan Case August 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Here is an interesting post on Confessions of a Dr. Mom: http://www.confessionsofadrmom.com/2012/08/want-me-to-sign-a-breastfeeding-waiver-i-have-a-letter-for-you-first/

  66. Library Diva August 5, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    I was in Brownies as a 9-year-old. We were taking a field trip to a pioneer cemetery that was up the street from my house, about four doors away. I met the troop there, and was told that I needed to walk back home and get a permission slip, or I couldn’t stay with the group. I could have acted as tour guide for that cemetery, yet I needed official permission to be there. This was the same troop that required us to have a bathroom buddy, despite the fact that we were all 9-11 years old and met in the cafeteria of the elementary school we all attended. That was a year I pretty much just endured Scouts, and I did not return the following year.

  67. C.J. August 5, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Our local Bulk Barn has a big sign ubove to nut section that says “May Contain Nut’s”.

  68. spitlermaggie August 5, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Ha! Library Diva, I have been in a constant, silent struggle since Daisy day 1 with my co-leader about this! We have our meetings in the same elementary school the girls attend, the very same school they go to the bathroom ALONE every, single day! And even if all that weren’t true, the bathroom is right across the hall from our room!!The girls are now Juniors. If they ask her, she makes them buddy up. If they ask me, I just tell them to go., I can see more than a few girls chaffing at this.

  69. Ann August 5, 2012 at 3:48 am #

    Lenore, you know I love you, and I agree with you 99% of the time, but I have to take issue with the CONTAINS PEANUTS warning. Some of the common food allergens have so many “hidden” names. For example, milk may show up in an ingredient list as “whey”, “casein”, “ghee”, or “galactose”. If you are needing to supply snacks for a neighbor, Girl Scout troop, or a birthday party where you know a milk allergic child is attending, wouldn’t it be easier if the label said, “CONTAINS MILK” rather than “ghee” in tiny letters as the 20th ingredient in the list? Food manufacturers are putting the CONTAINS warning on foods that contain any of the 8 most common food allergens. Yes… with peanut butter, it is obvious and not necessary. They are just complying with the FDA guidance which is really very, very helpful for anyone dealing with food allergies.

  70. Heila August 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I don’t have a problem with food and medication labels, even when they state the obvious. Yes the warnings on peanut butter and sleeping pills are good for a laugh, but you cannot have a situation where the labelling laws apply to some products but not to others.

    kurokami77 – I’ve seen even horse owners (including myself!) do idiotic and dangerous things with horses, nevermind non-horsey people. Nowadays many people do not grow up with animals and really do not seem to have any ability to “read” an animal. I’ve seen parents plonk a toddler (without any protective gear) on top of a completely unrestrained pony for a photograph. This may not seem dangerous to someone not used to horses, and when I pointed out to them that the pony might choose to leave, at speed, at any moment they looked at me as if I was missing a screw or two. I’ve had many requests from people to put a child up on my horse for a photograph and my standard response is “Not without a helmet”. Even my laid-back boy who has had many beginners on his back and generally look after them well, spooked at something the other day causing my friend’s 8-year old to fall off. Sorry for the thesis!

  71. Stuart August 6, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    I recently volunteered at a science competition for high-school students sponsored by my university – most would have been around 15yo. Some of the students had red dot stickers stuck to their lapels. Why? Because their parents hadn’t completed a “photo authority” form…

  72. SecondofSeven August 6, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    I’m not sure if this applies but my 10 year old son recently zip lined over Grand Falls in New Brunswick (Canada). The line is 600 ft over a rocky gorge. We found it very funny that he was required to wear a helmet.

  73. Lollipoplover August 6, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Here’s the warning label off a bag of MARSHMALLOWS:

    Choking Warning: Eat one at a time. For children under 6, cut marshmallows up in bite-sized pieces. Children should always be seated and supervised while eating.

    Can’t they just suggest chewing food instead?

  74. asdf August 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    @BackwardForward I do not understand that picture. There is a kid on a toy horse and two dogs nearby. What is especially safe in there?

  75. Astrid August 7, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    When we were in America for our holiday, we were in a mall and there was a shopping cart where you could put your children in. It was like a fire truck. Very nice and my boys loved it.

    At the back of the shopping cart fire truck there was a little bag where you could put your bought items. On the bag there was the warning “do not put child in bag”

    I remember thinking that someone must have been crazy enough to do so. I have a picture of it if you like.

    Also in Philadelphia we were forbidden to visit the Eastern state Penitentiary, because it was an old monumental building and there could be rocks falling from the ceiling and they could fall on my small son. Apparently it was not a problem that the rocks could hit me or my husband, they had waivers for that, but I could not sign one for my son.

    Astrid from the Netherlands

  76. Astrid August 7, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    We also were very surprised that my little boy kept being returned to me by other, very nice, moms because I might not have noticed but he was playing with dirt, sticks or stones, or the times my husband was asked if he was here with children and which children were his, or the times my then youngest child was removed from the slide, because it had steps.
    And in the Zoo in Central Park I held my youngest as I walked at a bench to sit down, pregnant as I was with my third child. Two women came running toward me holding my eldest, because he was walking the other way and he might have been kidnapped. And that I could probably do things like that in my own country, but this was New York. I was too surprised to ask them why a kidnapper would pay 15 dollars or more for the Zoo while there was a huge park where he could kidnap children for free.
    But those weren’t waivers off course, but friendly warnings for silly foreigners like us
    We had fun; America is a wonderful country with so many wonderful and friendly people, but a tad neurotic at times.

    Astrid from the Netherlands

  77. CrazyCatLady August 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm #


    Metal paper clips have been banned because one employee cut her finger. They must all now used plastic, and carefully dispose of the metal ones.

  78. Susan Case August 12, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I finally broke down and spent $5 on an insulated drinking cup by Spirit – 16 oz. Anyway, here are the Care Instructions:

    1) This item is designed for hot and cold liquids. Do not overfill.
    2) This item is Bisphenol A (BPA) free, made from high quality acrylic
    3) Hand wash only; wash with warm soapy water and allow to air dry with top off (do not soak or submerge)
    4) Do not clean with bleach or cleansers containing chlorine
    5) Allow hot liquids to cool to a drinkable temperature (hot liquids may increase temp of exterior wall)
    6) Not suitable for MW, cooking or freezing
    7) Not intended for children under 12 years of age!!

    Gee – I don’t know if I should toss the instructions, or throw them in the trash with the pillow “Do Not Ever Remove This Label” labels.

  79. Susan Case August 12, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I meant keep the instructions – maybe even laminating it for a long-lasting keepsake.

  80. Susan Case August 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    You might like the book “Up the Down Staircase” – sold over 6,000,000 million copies (printed in 1990). A teacher said her school had signs made for “Up this staircase” and “Down this staircase.”

  81. lskenazy August 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    yes — read it and once did an interview with the author! (her dad or grandpa was sholem alechem, who wrote the stories “fiddler on the roof” was based on!) L   Lenore Skenazy Author of the bookand blog, Free-Range Kids Host of Discovery/TLC International’s “World’s Worst Mom” (the title is ironic!). Here’s a 2-minute sample. Busy twittering at FreeRangeKids And while we’re at it, also author of the trivia book that puts the fun in short term memory loss:”Who’s The Blonde that Married What’s-His-Name?”  646 734 8426 (cell)