Last week I presented a lightly “humorous” take on the products that babies and toddlers absolutely need (spoiler: not really many of them). This week it’s serious. If quoting Iggy Pop lyrics doesn’t raise alarms for you, I don’t know what to do. So I’ll just tell you.
I wanted to follow up with a survey of products for infants and small children that are not only unnecessary, but downright dangerous.
Before we get into it, I just want to admit that researching this topic online was both disturbing and highly entertaining. If you would like to know about some of the specific products considered too ludicrously deadly to exist, help yourself. I won’t be mentioning them.
Having made a tally of the toys and accessories for babies that have drawn the most ire from pediatricians and safety experts, I give you the following:
Things in cribs. Really, there shouldn’t be anything in there with them. No pillows, nor blankets, nor Grandma’s handmade quilt. No plush toys, no soft bumper pads. All of these things can asphyxiate or strangle.
Also, any vintage cribs. The slats are too far apart. As someone who once watched a toddler (not my own) get his head stuck in a dollhouse, you can imagine the concern with this.
Magnets. Because they stick together. If they can be swallowed…again, use your imagination.
Anything with small parts or pieces that can be removed or broken. This is where the minimum age labels come in handy. Look, we all love Legos, even after we step on them with bare feet. But if anyone in the house is still inclined to stick things in their mouth (aka the toddler research lab), please save them for later.
Walkers. These things a.) don’t help babies develop walking muscles sooner; in fact, they’ve been found to do the opposite, and b.) have a tendency to go down stairs and/or trap children under or against other dangerous things (hot stoves, wolves). Canada banned them 14 years ago, and we know Canada is smart. And good looking.
Bumbo seats. I have a personal vendetta against these multiply-recalled baby tippers. Putting a belt on it isn’t going to make it any safer if they fall off a table or simply tumble over backward, pinning babies underneath.
Really, if you feel the urge to just pick up a baby and carry it around, sniffing its head, that’s probably the way to go. Trust your instincts.