Potential Deathtraps 

In which our reluctant hero pops on his hard hat and does a risk assessment. Or something.

We’re not yet through a month of the new year and the world has officially gone mad.

In the week that saw a narcissistic reality TV host being made Leader of the soon-to-be-no-longer-free World, Brexit at the Supreme Court, AND The Daily Mail stirring up the frenzy that was the great baby wearing debate, another news item stuck out as being even more scary and ridiculous. Yes, apparently, Sophie the Giraffe is trying to kill us all TO DEATH.

If you missed the story, a New Jersey dentist reported noticing musty smelling air coming out of a hole in her child’s toy. So she cut it open and found that this particular Sophie had a dark secret lurking inside its insides. A dark, little bit stinky secret in fact, in the form of “smelly, ugly mould” living inside its rubber tummy. Blimey.

You would think that in this week of all weeks, Americans (and the rest of the world to be fair) would have just a teeny bit more to worry about. But no. Unsurprisingly, in this age of “not news” and “alternative facts” that we live in, Sophie’s secret didn’t stay a secret for long. Soon after, paranoid parents across the globe sharpened their scissors and took action.

After the cutting, ripping and general butchery was done, guess what they found? Predictably, lumps of otherwise faultless and spotlessly clean ex-rubber giraffe spread across their kitchen worktops. What else?

As you may or may not know, mould thrives in conditions where it is damp and warm. Sophie the Giraffe’s squeaker also prevents much moisture getting inside. So, unless you are the sort of idiot that washes a rubber giraffe with the other pots and pans in a washing up bowl, thus allowing a load of water to get sucked up, it should remain mould free. In unrelated news, our Sophie ended up in the bin sometime in 2013… *coughs*

Anyway, this silly story got me worried that killer rubber animals may not be the only potential deathtraps in and around the home. So I wracked my brains to unearth some others.

And here’s what I came up with, thanks to a little help from some similarly slapdash parents that I know, via the medium of my wife’s WhatsApp.

The Floor
Mop your kitchen or hall floors. Go on. Then steam clean them. Then mop again. Once dried, rub with a baby wipe and look what comes off. Would you eat your dinner off it? No, but your toddler is up and down all day and occasionally eats bits of theirs of it. It’s just a bit of dirt though. It’ll be fine. Probably.

Squirty Bath Toys
Similar risks, but the squirty toy may be even more dangerous than Sophie the Giraffe, if such a concept can be entertained. Leave forgotten in a cupboard for a few months then watch the black flakes fly out as your little people squirt each other in the bath. A potential deathtrap disguised as a penguin. Eek.

You think that they are out of harm’s way, but then it’s a quick snip and off to A&E. See also secateurs, which were thankfully spotted before any fingers got pruned in our garden earlier in the week.

Scooting to nursery without a helmet? The exercise is good, right, and what harm can it do if kept to the pavements? We didn’t have helmets after all. Or scooters for that matter. Now aware, guess what we’re going to be purchasing on Amazon at the weekend?

Things on the Stairs
When I were a lad, roller-skates at the top of the stairs were one of the two go to cartoon banana skins, so to speak. The other being a banana skin. These days it’s toy cars, tractors, balls, books, party bags, trainers, dressing up clothes, our cats and pretty much everything else causing the issue. The kids will probably be fine, but if mum or dad don’t one day break a limb, I will be amazed.

Essential for lighting a nice fire to keep your little people warm on a cold day. Also, I’m told, one of the first things to be found and played with when our friend’s little person learned to commando crawl.

Tooling a Toddler Up
Not content with encouraging toddler arson, our correspondent reports that her daughter also had a knife confiscated at nursery. Now I know that Wolverhampton can be rough at times but too far, yes? And to think we let our children play together…

Vital apparatus for checking that the little people haven’t got a temperature, come the lurgy. However, watch out for attempts to shove it down an unsuspecting ear drum when playing doctors and nurses. Ouch.

Leading on from matches and thermometers comes overheating. (Anyone would think that this is planned.) Too hot or too cold? It’s a right dilemma for new parents. Fortunately our Asda cellular blanket provided the following helpful advice on the label.

“Do not let your baby overheat. Keep away from fire and flames.”

Whatever you say Mr. Blanket. Whatever.

It’s fun and harmless, right? So there’s no problem if your toddler feeds her five month old baby brother a pretend egg then? The salt in it will make it taste nicer. Play? D’OH!

Sensory beads
What better development aid than good old sensory beads. Cheap too if you use pound shop Christmas decorations instead of those fancy expensive ones that don’t tangle round toddlers. Keep those eyes peeled just in case. (Not my bad this one, I hasten to add. Although it could have been.)

Keen to make amends for the sensory bead disaster that almost was, our other eagle-eyed correspondent narrowly avoided another potentially disastrous patenting fail. Thankfully she spotted the “Not suitable for children under 36 months” sticker on her toddler son’s six piece jigsaw and hid it before it was too late. Phew.

I’m sure that this is only scraping the surface of the tip of the iceberg, to mix metaphors just because I can.

If you think of any more, feel free to let me know in the comments, or on the lovely new “Babysitting The Kids” Facebook page using the hashtag #moredangerousthansophiethegiraffe



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