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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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11-Year-Old Creates a Better Way to Test for Lead in Water
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In the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a Colorado middle schooler has invented a better way to test lead levels in water, as The Cut reports.

Gitanjali Rao, an 11-year-old seventh grader in Lone Tree, Colorado just won the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, taking home $25,000 for the water-quality testing device she invented, called Tethys.

Rao was inspired to create the device after watching Flint's water crisis unfold over the last few years. In 2014, after the city of Flint cut costs by switching water sources used for its tap water and failed to treat it properly, lead levels in the city's water skyrocketed. By 2015, researchers testing the water found that 40 percent of homes in the city had elevated lead levels in their water, and recommended the state declare Flint's water unsafe for drinking or cooking. In December of that year, the city declared a state of emergency. Researchers have found that the lead-poisoned water resulted in a "horrifyingly large" impact on fetal death rates as well as leading to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed 12 people.

A close-up of the Tethys device

Rao's parents are engineers, and she watched them as they tried to test the lead in their own house, experiencing firsthand how complicated it could be. She spotted news of a cutting-edge technology for detecting hazardous substances on MIT's engineering department website (which she checks regularly just to see "if there's anything new," as ABC News reports) then set to work creating Tethys. The device works with carbon nanotube sensors to detect lead levels faster than other current techniques, sending the results to a smartphone app.

As one of 10 finalists for the Young Scientist Challenge, Rao spent the summer working with a 3M scientist to refine her device, then presented the prototype to a panel of judges from 3M and schools across the country.

The contamination crisis in Flint is still ongoing, and Rao's invention could have a significant impact. In March 2017, Flint officials cautioned that it could be as long as two more years until the city's tap water will be safe enough to drink without filtering. The state of Michigan now plans to replace water pipes leading to 18,000 households by 2020. Until then, residents using water filters could use a device like Tethys to make sure the water they're drinking is safe. Rao plans to put most of the $25,000 prize money back into her project with the hopes of making the device commercially available.

[h/t The Cut]

All images by Andy King, courtesy of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

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fun
Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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