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European Children Banned from Blowing Up Balloons


We are all for legislation that protects our children, but the European Union may have gone a bit far with its new safety rules banning balloons, party whistles and other fun, small toys.

Plus: The Latest in Recalls

Under the new safety directives, children under eight will not be allowed to blow up balloons unsupervised because they present a choking hazard. Gone are the little paper whistles from birthday parties and, as is the European tradition, from Christmas dinner tables if children are under 14; the plastic whistle part is also deemed a choking hazard. Metal whistles and magnetic fishing games are being snatched from goodie bags well because they contain small parts and their metal parts may contain potentially hazardous materials. Also targeted are teddy bears (now all parts must be fully washable to prevent the spread of disease), rattles (they can’t be too loud) and coloring books (it’s unclear why).

Plus: Baby Toy Buying Guide

Manufacturers will be required to label toys as unsafe for certain ages and perform a battery of safety tests, a measure many fear will really drive up costs come Christmastime. Some members of the European Parliament’s safety committee think this is all a bunch of silly handwringing, but those behind the new rules say they want to prevent “horror stories.” The Telegraph’s coverage of the new measures didn’t mention any of these “horror stories,” so we can’t help but wonder if children are being cheated out of fun rather than protected.

How do you decide which toys are too dangerous for your children?