The importance of listening to mom

One of the interesting things about my time spent working in a pediatric hospital was learning that mom's advice to kids on 'what not to do' really did turn out to be good advice. Of course when you are a kid no one thinks that if they run with something in their mouth something bad can happen. The truth is that bad things happen all the time but you might not notice unless you happen to be in a place where all those bad things end up being treated.

It is a tragic reality - and the hospital workers have to deal with the stress of seeing these horrible accidents on a daily basis. Sometimes the only way to mitigate the horror was with a dry humor. I remember doing rounds with the neurosurgeon early on a Wednesday morning and marveling at the x-ray showing the point of an umbrella impaled through the roof of a child's mouth and resting squarely behind the child's eyes. It was a miracle that the child survived and after the surgery to extract the umbrella there was not any immediate sign of neurological damage. As we all stared at the miracle the resident said the obligatory, "Mom always said not to walk around with things in your mouth." The quick-witted neurosurgeon deadpanned, "Agreed. But imagine the challenge I would have had if the umbrella opened."

These kinds of events started me on a long journey of participation in child safety awareness activities. I try to post information for people to increase awareness - I think it is very easy to think that these problems are low-incidence events. As I said, unless you are working in a place where you see that product recalls actually happen for a reason I can imagine that it just seems that there are too many regulations and too many rules and too much paranoia and too much tort law.

I'm thinking about all of this today because I was reviewing a monthly list of consumer product recalls. I noticed a pattern of recalls based on drawstrings in children's clothing - there are longstanding rules about drawstrings that CPSC has published but apparently they are cracking down even more on this issue and adding this kind of clothing to the Substantial Product Hazards List.

In my opinion this is an example of a good place for government, and I don't object to tighter standards of control for products (imported or domestic) that can impact the health and safety of children.

I've seen two drawstring accidents in my career. They were both horrible.

I know the summer will be full of promise and fun. Children will make important memories and there is a lot of joy in that fact. Sad things will happen too. I wish they wouldn't happen. Maybe having a healthy level of awareness can prevent some of the sad things.


Wendy said…
Thanks for the encouragement to keep at them!
Liz Ditz said…
Dear Chris,

Thanks for the prompt. Dang, I read this before I headed out for the night's activities.

Tonight I was wrangling the 23 mo grandson, who was running across the kitchen towards his highchair with his spoon in his mouth (cause a small man needs to carry things in each hand, don't you know!)

Just as I started to reach for the spoon, he tripped. I had visions of spoons impaling the palate.

Happy day, nothing bad -- no bleeding, no injury, not even crying.

But I'm going to get strict about not running about with things in the mouth.

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