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Sunday 11 July, 2004
# Why do all baby clothes have a prominent "Keep Away From Fire" warning?
smellygit said Cos they'd burn if they were too close to the fire. [added 12th Jul 2004]
Your comment is undeniably true.

It is also, like the label itself, undeniably stupid.

Clothes are flammable (except hopefully those given to firemen). Why then are baby clothes especially labelled? Do people feel particularly inclined to dangle babies over naked flames, perhaps? Are we likely to mistake a cotton vest for an asbestos coverall? [added 12th Jul 2004]

Pete Ashton said I was quite struck by my niece's pram which has warning signes plasted all over the inside of the seat. Can't remember what they say right now but stuff like "Warning!" and "Danger!" is very prominent. I wonder if this will have any effect on her... [added 12th Jul 2004]
They all have them - "Warning! Even though your baby is strapped into this seat, it is your responsibility not to crash your fucking car!" or "Caution. This pushchair is not designed to let you carreen wildly down a hill into the path of on coming traffic!".

The warnings on baby products are about as helpful as the mythic airline peanut warning - "Caution: This product contains nuts" [added 12th Jul 2004]

Pete Ashton said The "nuts" thing just seems quaint these days when a cup of tea from a vending machine warns you it might be hot. Might be? Bloody better be!

Obviously it's litigation culture, once again. The baby stuff is marketed as being safe for kids so they need to make sure stupid people don't think it'll protect their kids from the apocalypse. [added 12th Jul 2004]

Presumably it is the culture of litigation we're all supposed to be living in these days. Call me an old duffer if you like but shouldn't "But really, your Honour, the plaintiff is plainly a complete fuckwit" be a defense in law? [added 12th Jul 2004]
Pete Ashton said At a certain comics event this spring the general complaint was that there wasn't a cafe or bar on site, so I offered to run one the next year - just a table with a kettle, some tea bags, coffee, sugar and milk. The organiser said it couldn't be done and sent screeds of legaleese my way. I said if anyone wanted to sue for getting burned by tea they I would laugh in their face until they went away. No go. [added 12th Jul 2004]
If anyone tried to sue for being burned by tea, the "he's a fuckwit" defense should surely apply. You can't get burnt by tea. It's a liquid, so you get scalded. [added 12th Jul 2004]
Assuming, of course, that you're stupid enough to throw a cup of hot liquid over yourself. [added 12th Jul 2004]
Pete Ashton said (You're being pedantic again...)

It's something I have trouble conceiving - a situation where, after an accident involving small quantities of boiling water (say, the kettle fell over at worst) I would apportion blame and expect compensation. When did "it was an accident" stop being a reasonable excuse?

Bah... [added 12th Jul 2004]

smellygit said Having been on Holiday with a Personal Injury lawyer, I was led to believe that courts do expect you to have some common sense, The 'scalded by tea' example most likley wouldn't be won here.

PI claims haven't actually increased a lot over the last 10 years. Though I expect tabloid reporting of them has! [added 13th Jul 2004]

That's the most stupid part of all - the common-sense free can't sue you anyway, but everything is still plastered with warnings. I bought a cup of coffee at Warwick services this morning, which was labelled "Caution: The drink you are about to enjoy is VERY HOT". Because it was printed in relatively small type and was covered by hand while I held the cup, I didn't see it until I'd drunk all the coffee and put the empty cup down on the passenger seat. Who's more stupid, those issuing or those needing the warnings? [added 13th Jul 2004]
danp said Have you ever thought that its the stupid people that should be plastered in warnings. Perhaps they should all be made to wear tee-shirts bearing the words 'Danger! Stupid person. Likely to behave like a twat and then blame others when things go wrong.' Or perhaps a tatoo across their forehead - does saying that make me a bad person? [added 14th Jul 2004]
smellygit said I thought that is what the red cross flags people attach to their cars were for :) [added 14th Jul 2004]
Pete Ashton said And fishes in the rear windows. In fact, as part of a road safety lesson, a Christian biker expressly warned me to keep clear of any cars with a fish on them. They believe God will protect them from accidents... [added 14th Jul 2004]
smellygit said I think Ayrton Senna thought that too.... [added 15th Jul 2004]
stu said Recently when on a business trip to LA (nothing to boast about - really), we noticed signs everywhere in the parking lot (which was the only place anyone could smoke in the vicinity of the hotel) exempting the hotel from any responsibility for substances that anyone might inhale in that location. Don't know that was for emissions from cars, cigarettes, or just the air outside. Even the New Yorkers there found it a little absurd.

And then on one of the replays of "Alastair Cooke's Letter from America" (something which I would normally have found the most boring piece of radio ever), there he was saying (sometime in the late 70s perhaps?) how ridiculous the litigation culture would become if people had to put signs up saying that they couldn't be responsible for injury caused by breathing in the air in a particular location.

So perhaps tatoos might not be so far off. [added 19th Jul 2004]

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