Helicopter parents, rejoice. A new European safety directive has banned children under the age of eight from blowing up balloons without supervision. Because they could swallow them and choke, the Telegraph reports. Also, on the list of dangerous but fun toys: whistle blowers -– the long colored ones that scroll out when sounded -– deemed unsafe for children under 14. As Jezebel points out:
“It's unclear if this is a due to a choking hazard as well, or the increased chance of being throttled after unfurling the paper tube into your brother's face for the 19th time.”
We’re all for keeping kids safe, but wonder if these rules may take precaution too far. Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University Of Kent, says these bans deprive kids of learning and having fun through play.
"Toys and activities, such as blowing up balloons, are part and parcel of the type of children's play that helps them become independent and self-reliant," he said. "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,” he tells the Telegraph.
According to the Telegraph, EU legislation will impose restrictions on how noisy toys are allowed to be. (As long as that includes Elmo’s Rock & Roll Guitar, that might be a law we get behind.)