Can’t get the whole stroller thing out of my mind. I keep imagining how those moms must have felt, innocently opening up a stroller and next thing you know, wham! …on the way to the ER. Then, then having the company say it was your fault mom…not ours! Well, I don’t buy it; but even so, what about the second through 11th child who lost fingertips because Maclaren failed to issue a recall? Mom’s fault? I think not! The company knew these pint-sized pintos were harming kids; and like so many companies before, just dumped all info into risk/benefit calculations (risk outweighing silence at #12). Then, when it had to finally break down and issue a recall (because it was good for the company), the PR approach was to still insist on product safety and blame the very customers who line their pockets! Greedy and shameless.
Is there a moon wobble or something?
Okay…not that you’re on the edge of your seat or anything…but if you’ve made it this far, I might as well answer the question raised: why didn’t I just get my old cursor back if I liked it better than the boring arrow? BEcause my hissy-fit having machine (no, wait…that was me…) upped the ante and decided I was no longer permitted to use scroll down menus to choose anything. I could only click on “restore to defaults”. Sigh. It is true. And now that I’ve “restored”, I can no longer click! I can highlight and press “enter” on the keyboard and hope for the best; but I’m on crutches here, grasping about byte world, no longer the stealth(-ish) surfer. I feel like the cyber-cheese who stands alone.
I hobbled my way to Microsoft help forum, hoping to chat with those in the know who, apparently, still loved their machines. It took a few tries to scroll and enter my way through registration. Then, I was at the very last step (after so, so many). All I needed to do was check the “I agree” box, and help would be mine. Except I couldn’t click. I tried to scroll, but there was nothing to scroll- you either agreed or you did not. I adamantly proclaimed to my monitor, “I agree! I agree!” But to no avail. I highlighted and pressed enter. It laughed at my efforts, mocking my every attempt. I tried to back space thinking maybe if I got a running start…I waited awhile thinking maybe it would forget about me and I could sneak up from behind…but my bag O’ tricks was nothing like Felix’s and my efforts proved pure folly.
Yes, I raged against my little machine. It paid me back. It dropped my smooth scroll. Now my hamster wheel moves my text in dizzying chunks, forcing me to keep sane by using the down scroll on the right side of the page (which, as an extremely spoiled scroller from way back, drives me insane nevertheless!)
Sigh. Maybe I dropped too many cracker crumbs in its keyboard while lolling around on the web, an indignity to any proud piece of technology. Maybe I was taking its marvels for granted and needed to remember to Give Thanks. (Mmmm…I wish I had more crackers…) Somehow, this time, I do not think it will self correct. I just know in my heart I’m going to have to treat it to a shiny new mouse, give it a defrag and memory makeover, or whatever it is that is appealing to a fancy box of cogs and wheels. The hamster got tired. But know this: I am giving thanks that it still lets me type out a few words while it snoozes.
Various models of Maclaren strollers were recalled in the U.S. on November 9 this year because of reports of amputated fingers of children. What gets me is that the recall was engaged due to 12 reports of childrens’ fingertips being amputated, and several other reports of lacerations. So, apparently, one report wasn’t enough to warrant recall; neither were two, nor three. Neither 11. Rather, Twelve children losing fingertips was what it took for moms unwittingly pushing their beloved kidlets around in what self-proclaims to be one of the safest strollers available to be informed of the danger and offered a solution. The company acknowledges that moms might be expected to be angry (think?). Really, you don’t say!
I have been thinking about contacting the company to find out how the number 12 was decided to be so magical. Today, I came across Baby Bargain Books Blog, whose authors did in fact call the company for answers to parents’ questions. Apparently, the injured children –according to Denise and Alan Fields’ (blog authors) report of what Maclaren had to say– were injured due to their parent’s failure to follow instructions, allowing their kids to be nearby while opening or closing the strollers. (In other words, it’s the parents’ fault the company says, the human factor. Hmmm…good thing these strollers weren’t designed for use by humans!) Unfortunately, I still have no idea why it took 12 kids injured before protective hinge covers (let alone information/warnings) were made available. I believe I will have to look into this.
We may not be able to anticipate every danger out there, or even necessarily foresee how newly introduced products may pose hazards, but I’m talking about long-known dangers every parent and manufacturer of consumer goods should certainly be aware of. There has been ample press and numerous recalls over many years; it is preposterous that the particular dangers persist and children continue to fall victim.
Little kids are creatures who will do something to off themselves 20 times a day. They think nothing of sticking a spoon handle in an outlet, playing with the radio straight out of the tub, swallowing a penny. They will giggle as they run out into the street in front of a speeding car, or drink down any liquid because it has a pretty bright color. If something is off limits, like the medicine cabinet, it is inborn in them to conquer exploration. Most moms will readily offer that much of their job as a mother is to keep their kids alive. It never ends; a necessary trait of motherhood is constant vigilance.
So how do some moms overlook what should be on the short list of things to take care of when there’s a young child in the house? Who knows; no doubt there are many reasons…but none good enough. Let’s not finish reading this blog– let’s go right now and cut our window shade cords so they do not form a loop, but rather, two separate cords. Let’s install hooks next to the windows to wrap them up so our kids cannot reach them. No hooks? Meantime, how about wrapping them around the shades to they don’t dangle. Let’s do it now!
Here are a few other ideas to help keep your precious kids safe:
–check their clothes and remove all drawstrings from the necks, or sew them on each side so they cannot be pulled tight. (All Happy Penguin Kidswear items have been so altered prior to sale for your childrens’ safety.)
–Check toys for breaks that could be injurious or toxic. Compare Little One’s toy chest treasures against the childrens’ product recall list. You can start your search here.
–Do not trick yourself into thinking there is any valid excuse for not fencing in a swimming pool. Everyone knows the danger, yet kids continue to drown because of delay or neglect in protecting them from this very real horror.
–Insist on tucking your child in at night wearing flame resistant pajamas only, preferably snug-fitting. That little yellow tag some states permit audaciously announcing non-flame resistance is an insult to parental intelligence and an open show of contempt for your child’s welfare.
I want to be humorous, I want to be light-hearted; but I cannot. Kids have been dying from these no-brainers for years. How can it be? Make sure your kids are safe.
Okay- I digress from the usual fare. I have to. I have the hiccups. Also known as hicoughs, depending on your dictionary, but who cares? Point being, they are highly disruptive, most vexing, annoying, and downright insulting if you ask me. I don’t get them often, but when I do, I feel subliminally tortured, a cosmic whisper of ‘Hex on me!’, a condition I will obsess over until resolved in my quiet, static favor. Ugg- there’s another!
I’ve always hated these uppity-up intrusions, fearing some of life’s greatest pleasures that cast a potential shadow of suffering: gobs of crusty french bread, a smooth sling back of butter smooth beer, an otherwise exhilarating lap in crystal clear waters. And I can’t muffle them either, like the sweet silent ‘mups’ barely registering on the radar from girls with names like Tiffany or Michelle. I’m a bellower, I’m a Roxanne, I’m a Gertrude hiccuper! Nothing dainty, and it just cannot be helped! So, it must be cured, and fast!
Now, forget the scaring thing. Really, anyway, how scary is that old 1-2-3 Boo! anyway? So I offer these suggestions, which I always try, in descending order, and almost always find relief along the way:
1- A MILLION BUCKS: Try it: If you can tell me the precise moment before the next eruption, I’ll give you a million bucks.
2- SALVATION (Again) BY MOTHER MARY: Grab a drink, any drink. Take a fast tiny sip. Say “Mother”. Take another fast tiny sip. Say “Mary”. Another like sip. Say “Full”…get the idea? “Mother Mary Full of Grace”…with a fast tiny sip between each word. Not supposed to get beyond the word ‘grace’ without cure, so if you don’t know what’s next, you’re okay.
3- BITTERS AND LIME: Horrible taste, excellent cure. Pour the bitters over the slice of lime and say “Yummy!” (But, really, who has bitters sitting around on the condiment shelf…)
4- RUBBER BAND GLASS: Pour a glass of water. Put a tissue or napkin over the top. Make it taut with a rubber band over the rim. Sip through the tissue. (Listen, I don’t make it up, I’m just reporting.) This method actually worked for me once.
Hmmm- apparently, writing is yet another cure, as my hiccups are gone now. Ahhhh…All is again right with the world. When I started this post, I was belting them out every few seconds like a real muscular Gretchen. For now, you may call me Lee.
There you go.
If you subscribe to conventional wisdom, then sandwiched between a morning shower and putting on your makeup, you slather on a generous glob of sunscreen. And if you do, then you know how getting a bit in the eye can test your religious resolve. And while you’ll certainly survive it, it’s far more painful to watch your little one endure that same obnoxious event of routine living. (Here’s a tip, by the way: next time this happens, fold a tissue in half and place the folded end just above your bottom lash line at a 45 degree angle, then close your eye. The tissue will absorb the moisture, and eliminate the irritant at the same time.)
For little faces, I love Coppertone Sport Stick. It is applied directly from the tube (kind of like a lip balm), so it never touches fingers that may rub an eye before a good handwashing. It is sweatproof and waterproof, so swimming lessons will not be interrupted with painful cries caused by migrating stinging goo. There is no apparent fragrance, and, according to the label, it is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and PABA free. It comes in SPF 30 factor, blocking both UVA and UVB rays.
For exposed limbs and tummies, I go with either Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Protection SPF 45 (The adult version; I avoid the child’s version based on it’s reported use of nano-ingredients); or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 70. The latter is my favorite for personal use, as it does not interfere at all with normal application of make-up and, if anything, mixes beautifully with water based foundation for a flawless, glassy look. (Note: I faced a long time ago that there is no such thing as a flawless, glassy look from a bottle or tube; so, ‘flawless’ is a widely relative term in this instance! I can say, without exaggeration, that it actually applies and looks better than foundation alone.)
Nano-ingredients, or fullerenes, (the stuff I don’t want in my purchased stuff, though I kind of like the cosmetic effect of) wedges foot in door on a topic of growing controversy. I am relatively sure any boycott of fullerene inclusion in popular cosmetic products is akin to trying to save a sinking boat with a teaspoon, particularly when there is no current labeling disclosure requirement. But, the way I see it, ‘every little bit’. (I may recycle my glass bottles and jars, but I still opt for paper or plastic at the grocery. I’m not a hypocrite, just half hanging from that sailing ship instead of firmly planted on the deck.)
I’m no chemist, and not the best resource on nanotechnology. (I’m just glad I ever heard of it; we all need more stuff to worry about everyday, afterall!) Still, I’m happy to offer a couple of recent articles that are refreshingly easy and quick to read as an introduction:
Read a Friends of the Earth, March, 2009 article to get a snapshot of background information on the use of nanoparticles in sunscreen and cosmetics. You might also find interest in this April, 2009 Rodale News article, which features a link to Skin Deep, specifically targeting the purported safety of various sunscreen brands. You can check yours there. (We offer this link as a point of interest; we do not know whether the information provided at either site on nanotechnology or sunscreen safety and chemistry is accurate.)
Meantime, happy sunning, happy swimming, and stay safe! 1