Choosing (How To Avoid) Your Poison


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I miss the days of the Mr. Yuck sticker. That thing scared me.Report

  2. Avatar notme says:

    How is requiring child proof caps “regulation for the sake of regulation?”Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Regarding what kids will get into, it is always far far FAR more then parents guess. Many years ago i worked with a family where the 4 or 5 year old managed to light a hand held blow torch the dad left laying around. It had the metal spark maker thingee and you had to turn the gas on as i remember the mom telling me. The kid was a handful but the parents were baffled that the kid lit it and started to chase his sibs around. Even more of a problem was they left it around after that and he lit it again, hence one of the reasons CPS was called out and i worked with them.

    But a good rule of thumb is parents are the worst judges of what their kids can get into.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

      That was the lesson from a couple weeks ago, when Lain got into some Skittles with some scissors. We were at once proud of her industriousness and rather concerned about the ramifications of her rapidly increasing skillset.

      But this makes me a bit more concerned about the regulation suite. How many parents are going to think that they’re ejuice is not a threat because of ineffectual childproof caps without regarding the fact that if they do get in the child can drink it in seconds.

      The definition of “childproof” is that it takes a kid more than five minutes to get into it (or something along those lines). With the Bulk, she could get the cap off easily but consuming the whole thing would take more time. (And Totally Wicked has it covered on both fronts. So good for them!)Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        Ahh parenthood; when you are proud of kid for doing something that also scares you.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

          As Lain’s speech has been improving, a lot of the last month has been spent saying “While I am proud of her innovations of sentence construction, I wish it were less devoted to finding new and inventive ways of saying ‘no.'”Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

        The goal is that by the time the kid can get into this stuff, the kid will also have the cognitive capacity to understand an explanation of why random chemicals are dangerous. I think I have told the story of the time my older one had a toy twirling baton that had water with sparklies inside. She broke it open to drink the water. What kid wouldn’t, with those alluring sparklies? It was mostly just water but various hydrocarbons from the plastic had leached into it, and she was undergoing some respiratory distress. This rated a trip to the emergency room (and I have to give credit: walk into the ER carrying a toddler while explaining she is undergoing respiratory distress after ingesting an unknown liquid, and you get prompt service). Ever since then, whenever the topic of potentially hazardous chemicals arises, I need only mention “baton water.”Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    How many kids have gotten seriously ill / died from drinking this crap?

    Is this stuff considered a “controlled substance”?

    Assuming both questions are answered none/few and no I see no reason for any regulation.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I would also be concerned about the labeling, particularly of the product on the right. I get that they want their products to have shelf appeal or whatever and that branding matters and all that, but they should be able to make something appealing to adults that doesn’t look like a kid’s juice pack.

    And, yea, kids can get into things like you wouldn’t believe. Mayo (turns 3 in April) popped the top off a child-proof prescription bottle like it was nothing; it was the type you have to press down and twist to remove. Thank goodness I was right there when it happened.

    It would seem that effective, common sense child-safety standards on these containers is good regulation. The question is whether these qualify as common sense. From Will’s assessment, it seems the answer is somewhere between, “No,” and “Not as effective or common sense as they could be.”Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      The old Bulk (right) bottles were comparatively plain*. I hadn’t thought about the “attractive nuisance” aspect of it, but I did really like that it was utilitarian. The new ones are colorful and the text on them harder to read. Because of that, and degradation, I’m thinking about printing my own labels.

      Lain actually seems more fascinated by the Halo (left) bottles. When I clean them out for re-use, she tries to grab at them. She’s never shown much interest in the Bulk bottles, before or after the facelift.

      * – If you click on the image of the two, you can see the whole set. Some of the old Bulk bottles are visible and you can compare. Totally Wicked bottle (the red one) also visible. “Evo” is a Halo brand and basically the same style of bottle.Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I got the package mentioned in the OP. Sure enough, the Childproof Dropper is an open, chugalug container once you get the cap off.

    I also got a freebie flavor called Exotic Sensations. As a Republican and Episcopalian, I’m not sure I approve.Report

  7. Avatar Morat20 says:

    With stuff like this, it’s a numbers game. Yeah, some kids are going to be able to pop the top off a child-proof cap. But fewer kids than can pop the top off a non-child proof cap.

    So saying “Stick a child-proof cap on it” (which is a simple thing, an already solved engineering problem that doesn’t require any research — just a quick redesign of a cap to already existing designs, so not a giant imposition) will keep some non-trivial number of kids out of the stuff.

    Since we use that sort of cap to secure drugs, poisons, and other things that can flat out kill a kid even easier than a ejuice, it’s apparently working well enough. I mean if it didn’t, we have a lot more dead kids from getting into bleach, prescriptions, rat poison, anti-freeze, whatever.

    The solution being applied is, for lack of a better term, the “accepted solution to keep kids out of crap” solution.

    Maybe that’s not sufficient, but if it isn’t…isn’t it insufficient for lots and lots of things? Which makes something other than just an ejuice problem.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

      This doesn’t really address my concern, which is that the design with childproof caps are often more dangerous under the hood than those without childproof caps. And that the potential danger of the latter may outstrip the benefit of the former. Which might make this regulation actually counter-productive rather than just not as effective as it could be.

      I understand the “something is better than nothing” argument, but that’s not true if the result is that they move to bottling with greater hazard potential.Report

      • To give an example of “under the cap” I added a picture of the new Bulk bottle and the old, with the cap removed. It might be easier to remove the cap on the left one, but once removed it’s a lot harder to consumer large quantities.

        (Credit again to the Totally Wicked bottles, which are both childproof capped and not as potentially hazardous under the cap.)Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah I get you and I’m all for even better security here, but the thing is — if you’re right, aren’t you also right for every other liquid hazard secured just by the child-proof cap?

        If, statistically, this is going to be an issue (this makes ejuice containers less secure rather than more), would that also not be true of bleach, anti-freeze, and liquid medications which are also often secured with just a child-proof cap?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

          Sure, but I don’t know how to avoid it with bleach. With bleach, you kind of need the ability to disburse a lot of it quickly. I mean, I’m not sure how a squirt system would work with bleach. Here, though, you are only injecting a little at a time. So there is an opportunity that’s available. that opportunity may be available for other things as well.

          This is not something I’m going to lose sleep over, to be sure. And it’s a point that vapers have made over and over and over again, that for all of the fears over ejuice consumption there are 100 things more dangerous in any given house. But this seems like it might be a step backwards for this particular hazard.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

            Also, bleach tends to come in large bottles that will be hard for a kid to tip back and chug. These bottles look relatively small… handheld even.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            I’d imagine because of heavy faith in child-proof caps. Like I said, it’s not like the regulation went with something new — it went with the standard solution to “We’d really like kids not to drink this”.

            I’m having a hard time thinking that it’s a step backwards, because it’s not a unique solution. If it was less safe than a dropper system, I suspect we’d have found that out due to all the kids bypassing the child-safe caps and guzzling…whatever.

            Now whether it’s optimal? Probably not — you made an excellent case for doing both, for instance.

            But when it comes down to regulation, I’m just not sure I can find much fault with “Let’s use the standard solution that appears to work just fine for all liquids we don’t want kids in. And also pills. And anything, really”.Report

            • Avatar Mo in reply to Morat20 says:

              This. Childproof caps work because they work across contexts. However, if you have to think about the specific use of each item being secured by a childproof cap, you’re going to end up with a much more heavy handed and less effective (because they can get to fewer items) state of regulation. Good enough is a thing.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

              You might say that childproof caps work better as signaling than as physical protection. If something has a childproof cap, then that says to the user “this is serious stuff and you shouldn’t let children get ahold of it”, and they are more likely to put it where children can’t access it.Report

              • Avatar Guy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Based on the first sentence, I thought this was going to be some kind of silly argument about safety-consciousness signaling in politicians, but it is actually a really good point and I agree.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Guy says:

                Except, it’s not.

                I’m getting old, sadly, and I’m frickin’ tired of child proof caps, which by FEDERAL law, must be used on any shipment via the mails, for ANY prescription. So my choice is to get a 30 day supply at the pharmacy and not get child proof caps, or have them and save a boatload of cash by getting them mail order. Why should I have to make that decision? The stuff being sent to me is common, not narcotic, only damaging if you swallow the whole bottle, comes sealed in MORE containers, and I don’t have kids in the house. I doubt that there are kids working in the USPS either.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

          Oh, I think the actual hazard potential here is pretty minor with any kind of packaging. The hysteria was drummed up by calls to the CDC. Not a high number of calls, even, just more than there were before the market exploded (fathom that).

          But as a parent you worry about such things, and if we’re going to worry, I know which I’m more worried about.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            Oh I get that too — although mine is 19, so I worry about different stuff….

            Less “drinking the bleach” and more “His drive to work is through crappy traffic and he hasn’t been driving that long…”Report