Originally published October 14 2011
Regulation gone wild: European children to be prohibited from blowing up balloons, playing with party whistles
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Concerned that children might hurt themselves or die, regulators in the EU have passed new toy safety laws that prohibit children from playing with a number of popular toys that have long been favorites at birthday parties and holiday gatherings. According to the new directives, children under the age of eight will no longer be allowed to legally blow up balloons, for instance, and children under the age of 14 will be prohibited from using noise-generating whistle blowers.
It is all part of an effort to improve children's safety by limiting their use of items that may prevent a choking or other health hazard. Latex bits from balloons, say regulators, present a serious choking risk. And children may swallow plastic pieces from whistle blowers, which means they have to go as well.
But it does not stop there. Regulators has also imposed noise restrictions for whistle blowers, rattlers, musical instruments, and other toys that make sounds. Even teddy bears are included in the list, as their material could harbor dangerous bacteria -- all teddy bears made for children under three will now have to be made with a special type of washable material.
"Toys and activities, such as blowing up balloons, are part of the type of children's play that helps them become independent and self-reliant," said Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, to the UK's Telegraph concerning the new rules. "These bans diminish the experience, both of having fun and learning, by turning play into a danger zone with rules that stifle life and adventure for children."
And this is precisely what happens when governments are given too much power and control over the people. As much as there needs to be a proper accountability system in place to ensure that private enterprise does not carelessly take advantage of others, the same is true for governments that would seek to micro-manage every aspect of life through regulatory overload.
The EU's assault against children's toys is only the tip of the iceberg, not only in the EU but also in the US, as regulators in both places are increasingly working to limit or ban various items and activities in the name of safety. Every item and activity in existence comes with some kind of risk -- but it is up to the individual, not the government, to take personal responsibility for his or her own actions.
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