Friday, June 22, 2012

Soap Box Alert...Where has all the common sense gone?

I read a news article this morning about a little girl who got horribly sunburned at school.

Turns out the school was one not too far from where I grew up.  But in a nutshell, the school was having a field day.  It was cloudy in the morning, and the mom didn't think to sunscreen up her girls before they went to school.  (though even if she had, by noontime, the sunscreen probably would not have been very effective) 

The sun, as it sometimes does in the Pac NW, came out in the afternoon.  And when it comes out around here, it doesn't mess around. 

Our state has laws in place, designed to "Protect our Children."  (In reality, they are designed to protect our schools and teachers from lawsuits.  Lawsuits, which admittedly, do happen.)  But these laws have rendered common sense completely useless.  You see, our "medication guidelines" restrict teachers from applying sunscreen to students.  The children cannot even bring sunscreen to school, unless they have a note from the DOCTOR. 

"Hi, I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor.  Please bill my insurance, I'll cover the co-pay, and take up the doctors valuable time having him fill out an official school permission form for SUNSCREEN."

Sure, I get it.  Some medications are dangerous and toxic.  For instance, the medication for ADHD.  It's actually an amphetamine. It's got some street value.  Kids sell it to their friends.  (which , they do outside of school just as much as they do in school.)  But, a child comes home from school with a second degree sunburn - which increases the child's risk of developing skin cancer later in life - because the teacher was barred from putting sunscreen on a student, and the student was barred from having sunscreen at school.  (hmm, that could generate a lawsuit or two down the road, skin cancer caused by ridiculously stringent medication guidelines)

My daughters elementary school has gone so far as to have an "allergy" table in the lunchroom.  Yes, that's right, if you're allergic to peanuts, gluten, you name it, you are segregated from the general lunch population.  And made to eat with the "allergy" kids.  (that's what the other kids call them)

My daughter, by the way, is unable to digest the protein in dairy.  Does the school know this?  Nope.  I don't dare tell them, cause I don't want her to get busted over to the "allergy table."  Instead, I've done was most parents of children with food allergies and intolerances have done for years.  I've taught my child to ask "does this have dairy in it?"  And she asks this about everything.  It's actually kind of funny.  If she's offered juice, "Does it have dairy?"  If she's offered strawberries, "Does it have dairy?"  Her intolerance is not life threatening, just painful, so I'm not really putting her safety at risk with my bold statement.  But...even for those kids who are at risk, well the rest of the world doesn't come equipped with allergy tables... do you see where I'm going with this?

My other big question, I've yet to have satisfactorily answered, is this.  "Why are children more flammable at night?"  Don't tell the pajama police, but I've been making my kids pajamas for years out of 100% pure breathable cotton, without added flame retardant chemicals as required by the Federal Flammability Standards for Children's Sleepwear.  Risking their very lives in the process, I know.  But, I'd rather have them sleeping in comfort than sleeping in a toxic soup of chemicals and sweat on the off chance our home bursts into flames. 

This from the CPSC guidelines for production of  children's sleepwear

 What if sleepwear fails the flammability tests?

Rejected units may not be retested, used, or promoted

for use in children’s sleepwear. Rejected units can be
destroyed, exported (only with CPSC approval) ...

Apparently, the CPSC does think it's okay to set foreign children aflame in their jammies.  (btw, I made the "exported" all big and standy outy.  That's not formatting from the CPSC)

And don't even get me started on how quickly polyester nightgowns pill up and fall apart.  Just as an aside, a little observation if you will.  While polyester doesn't burn, it does in fact melt.  Into a solid lump of black plastic.  Hmm, flaming cotton which could theoretically be removed or molten plastic?  You make the call. 

Oh look at that, there's another CPSC clothing recall - seems someone sold a child's hooded jacket with drawstrings....again...oh the horror.  When will these people ever learn !!!


  1. WOW. This is really shocking and yet not at all surprising. When I took the "Teachers and the Law" class for my endorsement it was pretty crazy all the different little things that teachers have to be fearful of. Unbelievable how "sue happy" (haha that's a double meaning!) :) our culture is!
    I wonder if the policy is different in states where students would have more consistent exposure to the sun? (California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Nevada, Arizona etc)

  2. Wow. This is shocking on one hand and not at all surprising on the other. Teachers are so fearful and vulnerable to lawsuits over the littlest things that they can't act on their instincts sometimes! We learned about all the different cases in my "teachers and the law" class and it's pretty crazy all that you have to look out for! Our culture is so "sue happy" (HAHA double meaning!) that teachers have to often walk on eggshells to survive!

    Hmm... wonder if states where students have more consistent exposure to sun have different rules about sunscreen?? Like California, Hawaii, Nevada, etc?? Would be interesting to look into.