Thursday, October 21, 2010

The SAFETY dance

An awesome riff, and I can't help but think of it everytime I hear of a new toy, baby product, car recall. Recently a friend posted a link about Graco stroller recalls. Over 2 million strollers being recalled for safety issues. SsssAaaaFfffEeeeTtttYyyy dance. So I read the article, because not only am I currently using a Graco stroller, but I think I have 1 or 2 laying around the garage and this could drastically affect their garage sale-ability. Mind you the one I am using is going through it's 3rd child. I recently enlisted my neighbor's help to jimmy rig a new seat cover because Bella felt the need to rip all of the old stuffing out of it. That or it was the stray cat that sleeps on it at night. I like to blame Bella and only because once when I was walking a piece of fabric and fluff actually hit me in the eye. But this poor stroller has seen alot. Many trips to the beach, many nights accidentally left out back in the rain, long harsh days in the sun, months in isolation at the hospital- not to mention I have totally surpassed the allowable weight limit numerous times- and that was this week alone. The thing has been drenched and washed of fluids I would rather not talk about. It has been climbed on, tossed around and transformed into a rocket and launched across the back yard. It still keeps ticking. I haven't used the seatbelt in it since 2008, and then it was probably only to keep Bella from slithering out and my having to feel bad about running her over before stopping.

The article says 2 MILLION strollers are being recalled because they have been linked to 4 infant deaths. I think that by all means necessary, if a stroller is dangerous and the company knows of a life threatening defect- they are by all means responsible for making the public aware. Now this is very poor form- but if an infant dies while in the presence of a stroller- technically the stroller is linked to the child's death- is the parent also linked to the child's death? Because the claim is that the multibillion company is responsible and they were not there. Despite the fact that a stroller manual and actual stroller comes with more warnings and cautions than a firearm. I mean after all, it is common knowledge guns kill. After all the aforementioned activities- the warnings are still stuck to my stroller. I could take a blow torch to it and the actual metal would melt before the adhesive on those bad boys. It apparently is not common knowledge(despite all of my and friends FB posts otherwise) that if children are left to their own devices, they will harm, maim, destroy or kill themselves. That's the piece of missing information that renders us caretakers necessary. Darwin called it natural selection, yet we as humans believe in common welfare and that no one should be penalized merely because they are stupid. They are pushed along in school under "no child left behind". They are allowed to continue working under non discrimination acts and ultimately go on to govern our country in what we call congress.

When as a society do we do away with nonsense litigation? A mother left her 6 month old, unbelted in a stroller unsupervised long enough to try and slither out, get her head stuck and suffocate?  Does the litigation automatically assuage the mother's own sense of guilt? I'm pretty sure the warnings next to the seat say "NEVER leave child unattended" and "ALWAYS fasten seat belts when using stroller".  Has anyone noticed that we have to sign releases for everything now a days? You can't blow your nose without having to release Kleenex from responsibilty for irritation that might be caused from overuse of their product. Cotton balls and Q tips have warnings on them! Did you know you really aren't supposed to stick Q tips in your EARS?  It's the ridiculous and abnoxious threat of litigation prevents people from doing the RIGHT thing because Wrong people want to release themselves from responibility and have someone else held responsible for their stupidity.

Yesterday, I bought one of those ginormous Pumpkin Pies from Costco. Which ironically does not have a warning on it. Things that make you go hmmm. Anyhoo, we were waiting patiently(to be read as my 3 girls plus 3 neighbor girls vibrating around me with anticipation) for Phillip to get home from school. I remember being surprised that he didn't beat us home- he rides his bike and is usually waiting for us. But he is very active this week with school activities- so I wasn't worried. Until he walked in and had THAT look on his face. A look that only a mom would probably pick up on. "what happened bud?" My spidey mom sense tingled.  "um nuthin"  Out with it, I tell him. "Um well a kid was upset and I was trying to help him" Yeah, what was he upset about? "Some other kid told him he would never get a girlfriend" Heavy stuff for 6th graders. How did you know he was upset? Well he was kinda yelling and holding 2 knives to his head. Yeah that would kind of give it away. I start scanning Phillip- no obvious injury and hug him. You hear stuff like this and you can't help it. Then the interrogation begins. How? What? Why? Where?

Phillip helped diffuse the situation while other kids went to get help. It was "off campus" which is to say it was right outside the fence at school.  It happened sometime other than when I was driving through getting the girls because I always look for Phillip to make sure he has his helmet on. A school counselor helped get the situation under control. I gave him a quick call this morning.  From what I can tell the situation was handled very well, by kids and adults. 

Here's my problem. School is absolved of ALL responsibility for the children once they walk outside the gates. Technically said, according to liability issues the counselor SHOULD NOT have intervened. Fortunately humans are not all robots and some are rational human beings and realize a situation where children should not be left to their own devices.  I understand that the school can not be responsible for what happens outside of it's grounds and a line has to be drawn somewhere. I lament that I live in a world where a staff member would actually have to consider the ramifications of helping in this situation before helping. This counselor didn't hesitate and no one was hurt. I fully expect to get a memo home today with a "reminder" that bringing weapons to school is a suspendable offense. The kids will be reminded at school. That will be the last of it. Until next time. Had that kid hurt somebody- his parents probably would have sued the school. And the kids parents who were trying to help. Life is becoming no win.

Where do we draw lines around integrity and responsibility? When did we stop being responsible for our own actions and our children's behavior? Sure a company sold a stroller. But the consumer bought the stroller and used the stroller for months. Is the stroller a qualified babysitter- I recently checked mine's references and would gauge it as being less entertaining that TV but safer than something with a motor.  And yes we are behaviorally modifying future generations against the every day use of common sense. I really don't see any negative results coming from that. Insert sarcastic smiley face here.

No comments: