Mr. Yuk

I have fond memories of Mr. Yuk from my childhood. My parents placed the green-yucky-face stickers on various items under the kitchen sink, and sure enough, I never drank drain cleaner. But where did Mr. Yuk come from?

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Yuk is from Pittsburgh, and was introduced in 1971. Prior to 1971, poison symbols were commonly of the skull-and-crossbones variety, but there was concern that children might associate that "jolly roger" symbol with pirates. This article further explains that in the early 70's, the skull-and-crossbones was also the logo for the Pittsburgh Pirates, so I can see how kids might not associate it with something they should NOT touch. The poison center at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh designed the Mr. Yuk logo and distributed the stickers (which also typically contain a phone number to reach a local or national poison control hotline -- for the record, the national number is 1-800-222-1222), and at least in my experience, these stickers were widespread as late as the mid-1980's.

Much more -- including freaky 70's videos -- after the jump.

Several studies have attempted to measure the effectiveness of Mr. Yuk. Unfortunately, the studies indicate that Mr. Yuk is not very effective at preventing children from handling Yuk-labeled bottles -- one indicated that children actually handled the Yuk-labeled bottles more, possibly because of the cartoonish appearance of the sticker. The other showed no significant difference between Yuk-labeled and non-labeled bottles. Well, that's a bummer. It's unclear from the study summaries whether education for the kids (explaining not to touch things labeled with Mr. Yuk) would have affected the outcome.

One thing I missed as a kid was this Mr. Yuk Public Service Announcement (slash spooky drug trip) from 1971. Prepare to be freaked out:

For Mr. Yuk superfans, here's the extended version of the song from the PSA above (you can also download an MP3):

You can get a free sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers from the Mr. Yuk page (warning: plays a brief theme song!) at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. You can also order Lance Armstrong-style green "poison help" wristbands. Um. "Yuk."

A question for current parents of young kids: is Mr. Yuk on any items in your house?

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iStock
The Hidden Benefits of Your Health Insurance Plan
iStock
iStock

When we talk about health insurance, it’s usually in the context of a complaint. While it’s true that insurance companies often fight tooth and nail to keep their financial exposure limited, they’re also making moves to offer benefits beyond standard health care—and you might not even know about these perks.

A prime example is the recent trend for companies to offer a discount savings card on groceries. United Healthcare, Humana, and Medica are just a few of the insurers who have issued cards that can be used for an instant price reduction when checking out at participating stores. The catch? The programs typically cover healthy or organic foods. Along with discounted gym memberships, the benefit is an effort to keep policy holders fit and—at least theoretically—to reduce the need for medical interventions.

If you’re surprised to hear about it, you’re not alone. Here are some other programs offered by the nation's largest insurance companies that you might be missing out on. (Bear in mind that each company has various tiers of coverage and not all perks may apply to all levels.)

UNITED HEALTHCARE

The company’s Healthy Savings program for groceries allows shoppers to save on select items that change on a weekly basis. Each Sunday, the cards will recognize between $40 and $50 in deals on healthier grocery options. It’s only good at participating retailers, including Shop ‘n’ Save, Giant, and others. You can search for locations on their website.

Through UnitedHealth Allies, the company also offers discounts on weight loss programs like NutriSystem and Jenny Craig, as well as gym memberships and even active footwear [PDF].

CIGNA

The Northeast-based insurance company provides an umbrella discount service, Healthy Rewards, that offers savings on eye exams and up to 25 percent off alternative health therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage appointments [PDF]. They also offer fitness membership discounts. More information can be found at MyCigna.com.

AETNA

It’s hard to know what the pending acquisition of Aetna by pharmacy giant CVS will mean for health care perks moving forward. Currently, the company offers discounted memberships and trial passes to more than 10,000 gyms nationally, as well as discounts on home fitness equipment like treadmills [PDF]. You can also find discounts on meal home delivery subscriptions. Logged-in members can go to the Aetna website and select “Health Programs” then “Discounts” to determine your eligibility.

ANTHEM BLUECROSS

In addition to savings on groceries, gym memberships, and weight loss programs, Anthem BlueCross offers savings for members on DNA ancestry kits, pet insurance, and even baby-proofing.

HUMANA

Humana offers an impressive array of “lifestyle discounts” that range from basic wellness perks to teeth whitening, identity theft services, and 15 percent off in-network LASIK procedures. They also offer discounts on over-the-counter medications like Claritin and Advil. You can register at MyHumana.com to find out more.

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Bose
Bose's New 'Sleepbuds' Are Designed to Help You Doze Off Faster
Bose
Bose

If you’re the kind of person who can’t fall asleep without the whir of a fan or some other ambient noise in the background, then Bose has a product for you. As spotted by The Verge, the audio equipment company’s new wireless noise-masking Sleepbuds are designed to fit comfortably into your ears and help you doze off faster.

The Bose sleepbuds
Bose

Unlike other Bose earbuds—and, well, most headphones in general—the Sleepbuds don’t actually play music or allow audio to be streamed from external devices. Instead, they come equipped with 10 soothing audio tracks, including brown noise, rain, ocean waves, a running stream, and more.

The earbuds aren’t noise-canceling, but their audio tracks are specifically engineered to mask certain outside sounds like traffic and, perhaps most impressively, your partner’s snoring. The rechargeable battery lasts for 16 hours, and at just 1 centimeter in width and height, they’re Bose’s tiniest product yet.

For early risers whose partners like to sleep in, the Bose Sleep app can sound off an alarm in your ear that only you can hear. The app can also be used to adjust your sleep settings, including your noise of choice, volume levels, and how long you want the sound to play for.

Bose spent a couple of years developing the product and raised over $450,000 in an Indiegogo campaign to help improve the Sleepbuds by getting backers to test them out and provide feedback. The Sleepbuds are now available for purchase on Amazon for $249.

[h/t The Verge]

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