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10 Kids' Books Too Dangerous To Stay on Shelves

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There may be nothing more peaceful than settling down with a child at bedtime to read them a story. Unless, of course, the selected book poses a significant physical or emotional risk to their well-being. Take a look at ten titles that had to be pulled from shelves before they could do any further harm.

1. A SINGLE DOG

It could be argued that children don’t need to explore the pros and cons of cannibalism until they’re old enough for video games. But a collection of poetry, A Single Dog, published in South Korea this past March, rushed that conversation: It featured several poems by children that parents found objectionable. One in particular, written by 10-year-old “Lee,” explored the merits of cutting out her mother’s heart and eating it:

Chew and eat your mom Boil and eat her, bake and eat her Spoon her eyeballs and eat them, Pick out all of her teeth Tear her hair out Turn her into lean meat and eat as soup If she sheds tears, lick them up Eat her heart last

Readers found the subject matter to be in poor taste. After first defending the collection as “art,” publisher Chulganil agreed to destroy the remaining copies.

2. BIG REX AND FRIENDS

CPSC

A heavy metal used in products and building materials for decades, lead has been shown to cause serious health effects when ingested. (This is why you’re not supposed to eat paint chips.) Children are particularly susceptible to harm, which is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was vigilant in sounding the alarm over Big Rex and Friends in 2010. The dinosaur adventure story was a cloth-bound book that had a red dot sewn into it; the dot was found to contain what the CPSC dubbed “high levels” of the toxic substance. More than 200,000 copies of the title had been sold between 2004 and 2009; no injuries or incidents were reported.

3., 4., 5., AND 6. BABY’S FUN BOOK, BABY'S PHOTO ALBUM, CARTER'S IMAGINATION PICTURE BOOK, AND PICTURE THIS VINYL BOOK

Children’s publisher Kids II Inc. had the best of intentions when they issued a line of soft vinyl titles intended for infants between 2001 and 2004. Baby’s Fun Book, Baby’s Photo Album, Carter's Imagination Picture Book, and Picture This Vinyl Book all featured brightly-colored pages that would be perfect for developing young minds. The decision to include a mirror on one of the pages, however, would prove to be a mistake. Intended to amuse babies, the plastic reflective insert was found to crack and break easily, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, leading to four reported cases of cuts and one bruised finger. The company voluntarily recalled the titles and offered refunds to parents.

7. HELLO, CURIOUS BUDDIES!

It can be difficult to render something completely immune to the curiosity of a child: They appear programmed to taste-test everything. Still, Simon & Schuster was compelled to remove copies of Hello, Curious Buddies! in 2006 because the tiny felt ears and limbs of pop-up animal characters could be easily torn and chewed. The CPSC noted that “one child was able to mouth the torn material” but that “no injuries have been reported.” Parents were advised to clip the offending animal parts off and mail them in for a replacement.

8. AND 9. KITTY AND FRIENDS COLOR AND CONTRAST CRIB BOOK AND PUPPY AND FRIENDS COLOR AND CONTRAST CRIB BOOK

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Every child loves to color. But what kind of negative associations could be made if they felt a sharp pain every time they drew outside the lines? Penguin Books was forced to recall two 1996 titles, Kitty and Friends Color and Contrast Crib Book and Puppy and Friends Color and Contrast Crib Book, when they discovered straight pins used in the manufacturing process had mistakenly been left in some copies. 

10. HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE

No one expects to wind up on a ventilator for cracking open a book, but that could have been the fate of buyers of Hey Diddle Diddle, a cardboard-layout book based on the popular nursery rhyme. The center of the book contained a rattle with tiny plastic pellets inside; if the pellets became dislodged, they could be inhaled and cause recurring pneumonia or lung collapse that could lead to death. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and the book lasted only a few months on shelves in 1994.

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Sorry, Kids: Soda is Now Banned From Children's Menus in Baltimore
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The war on sugary drinks continues. Following several cities that have passed laws allowing them to collect substantial sales tax on sodas and other sweetened beverages, Baltimore is taking things a step further. A new ordinance that went into effect Wednesday will prohibit restaurants from offering soda on their kids’ menus.

Leana Wen, the city’s health commissioner, told the Associated Press that the ordinance was enacted to “help families make the healthy choice the easy choice.” Instead of soda, eateries will be expected to offer milk, water, and 100 percent fruit juices.

If you’re wondering what will stop children from sipping soda ordered by an adult escort, the answer is—nothing. Business owners will not be expected to swat Pepsi out of a child’s hand. The effort is intended to get both parents and children thinking about healthier alternatives to sodas, which children consume with regularity. A 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 30 percent of kids aged 2 to 19 consumed two or more servings a day, which can contribute to type 2 diabetes, obesity, cavities, and other adverse effects.

Businesses in violation of this kid-targeted soda prohibition will be fined $100. Baltimore joins seven cities in California and Lafayette, Colorado, which have similar laws on the books.

[h/t The Baltimore Sun]

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7 Reasons Why You Should Let Your Kid Get Bored This Summer
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No matter how excited kids are for summer break, after a few weeks without school, they can start to feel a little bored. But as a parent, you shouldn't drive yourself crazy scheduling playdates, lessons, and other organized activities for your restless progeny. Instead, turn off the iPad, put down the camp brochure, and let them sit around the house moaning “I'm bored”—it can be good for them.

1. BOREDOM PROMOTES CREATIVITY ...

Research suggests the experience of boredom can lead to greater creativity because it allows minds to wander. In one 2014 study, researchers asked a group of participants to undertake boring activities like copying down telephone numbers from a directory. Then, they were tested for creativity—they had to come up with as many uses for a pair of foam cups as they could think of. The participants who had endured the boring tasks ended up thinking up more uses for the cups than those who hadn't. Boredom, the researchers wrote, "can sometimes be a force for good."

This isn't an entirely new idea. Another study conducted in Canada in the 1980s provides further evidence that boredom isn't always a bad thing: It found that kids who lived in towns with no televisions scored higher on imagination-related tests than kids who had TVs. Imagine what disconnecting from all of the screens available now could do for a kid's creativity.

2. ... AND MAKES THEM MORE INDEPENDENT.

Boredom can force kids to generate their own ideas about what they'd like to do—and what's feasible—then direct their own activities independently. "If parents spend all their time filling up their child's spare time, then the child's never going to learn to do this for themselves," Lyn Fry, a child psychologist, told Quartz in 2016. "Being bored is a way to make children self-reliant."

3. BOREDOM FOSTERS PROBLEM SOLVING.

In The Boredom Solution: Understanding and Dealing with Boredom, teacher and author Linda Deal advises that it's important to let kids learn to deal with their boredom themselves because it helps them learn to make decisions about how to use their free time. They need to learn to "see the problem of boredom as one within their control," she writes, which can help them come up with constructive ways to solve it rather than simply getting hopeless or angry about it, as kids sometimes do in situations they don't have control over. Kids learn that boredom isn't an insurmountable obstacle.

4. IT MOTIVATES THEM TO SEEK NEW EXPERIENCES.

In a 2012 study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, researchers sought to define what, exactly, boredom is. "At the heart of it is our desire to engage with the world or some other mental activity, and that takes attention," co-author Mark Fenske, an associate professor at the University of Guelph, explained at the time. "When we cannot do this—that seems to be what leads to frustration and the aversive state we call 'boredom.'" When kids (and adults) are bored, especially with activities that were once engaging, they're motivated to try new things.

5. BOREDOM CAN HELP THEM MAKE FRIENDS ...

According to a pair of psychologists from Texas A&M University, boredom might have a social role. They argue that it "expresses to others that a person is seeking change and stimulation, potentially prompting others to respond by assisting in this pursuit." Being bored can push kids to go out and be more social, and have fun through activities. When there's not much to do, hanging out with the new kid down the block (or even your little brother) suddenly seems a lot more appealing.

6. ... AND FIGURE OUT THEIR INTERESTS.

Both at school and at home, kids are often required to participate in a range of activities. Having the time and space to do nothing can help kids figure out what they actually like to do. "Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves," psychologist Vanessa Lapointe writes at the Huffington Post. This downtime allows kids to direct their own activities without adult input. Pressed to come up with their own entertainment, they might discover a love of writing plays, baking cookies, biking, crafting, or perfecting their jump shot.

7. IT CAN HELP THEM FIND MEANING IN THEIR LIVES.

According to one 2011 study, boredom forced people to reflect on meaning in their lives, prompting them to seek out meaningful activities like donating blood. While the study only examined adults, who may be more inclined to search for purpose, boredom can nonetheless push kids to undertake activities they might otherwise find unappealing—whether that means helping out with the dishes or agreeing to go volunteer for the day—or could even inspire them to make the world a better place.

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