Warning: Infants Are Infants

Chainlink

The futurekid hasn’t arrived yet, so I haven’t had the full effect of this being pointed right at my face, but early evidence points to there being something about babies that makes people’s brains turn off. It’s worse than kittens.

There are eleven separate warnings decals on our carseat. They are a variety of shapes and sizes and they all say the same thing, the gist of which is “Warning: an infant car seat is for infants, and when you put an infant into an infant carseat, you will have an infant in your carseat. Warning: If you do not buckle your infant into the carseat, your infant will not be buckled into the carseat. Warning: If you place the infant in the carseat and then place the carseat in the car, the infant will also be in the car.” Apparently in the event of an accident my child will be protected by a thick barrier of warning messages saying I shouldn’t have done that.

Honestly, the surface area of this thing is about 30% warning label, and this is ridiculous. This isn’t helping anyone, it’s the mindless graffiti of a culture of litigious fear. I’m not a rabid opponent of nanny-state measures, but I hate stuff like this. It has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with avoiding culpability; it makes the world ugly. Did somebody think “The first eight warning labels, those might not take. But these next three! Boy, those’ll do it for sure!” No, of course not. Nobody thought about this; there was no thinking involved. Just a spasm of ass-covering, some vestigial corporate reflex.

Of course, I have not only not read all of them, I have barely read one of them. This thing has one lever in it, and one clip for the kid’s seatbelt. It clicks when it is properly operated, and doesn’t when it doesn’t; a golden retriever could operate this thing. I’m going to install it, and then ask somebody at the fire station check to see that it’s been done properly, and then I’m going to go about my day.

Futurekid, I hope that I will teach you to have a very low tolerance for this kind of nonsense.

12 Comments

  1. Posted April 12, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, my sister has a stroller, and clearly someone put the time to design it and make it look nice, and then someone else peppered it with red and white warning labels.

  2. Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Are the warning labels visible in the marketing shot of the product on the box it came in?

  3. Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Infants are properly conceived out of wedlock, raised en mass on Welfare, shoved into Head Start, then diversely dumped into prisons or appointed in charge of social engineering overall.

    That you have the flat out effrontery to spew hate language about social management is obscene. Your income should be more vigorously redistributed, your neighborhood more affordably housed, and your children compassionately drugged into insensiblity lest they propagate your patriarchal White Protestant European historic oppression of Peoples of Colour.

    That said.. Every long arm sold in Californa requires the concommitent purchase of a trigger lock somewhat smaller than a bowling ball lest a two year-old, lock, load, pop the safety, and slaughter its daycare center. Said mechanical excrescence is accompanied by a big bold dire warning that it will fail in use. Save Our Chldren by requiring the purchase of a trigger lock lock.

  4. mhoye
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, I didn’t order a shipment of frothing libertarian crazy. Perhaps you have the wrong address?

  5. Amos
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably not on the warning label, but make sure that the shoulder straps come out at or below the shoulder when rear facing and at or above when forward facing.

    I’m willing to bet that for every label, there was already a lawsuit or three due to dead or maimed kids. This should make you wonder about how well these things are designed and built. We’ve already had a recall on our model due to the tightening strap slipping clear out of the mechanism under ‘load’. There’s probably already a label on the new models about not giving your kid slippery food in the car.

    Think of the labels as the readme file for a very buggy piece of code, or illustrated error messages you actually get to read before the errors.

    Oh.. and check out http://www.adventuredad.com/archives/swedish-car-seat-questions/ and the soon to be live http://www.carseat.se/

  6. Rajesh
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Uncle Al’s normally infesting Chad’s blog.

  7. Leonhard Euler
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Two words: Tort reform. So long as it remains so easy and profitable to sue these manufactures, they will have no choice but to engage in this sort of ugly ass-covery. Don’t blame them for defending themselves against the circumstances they do business in.

  8. Mike Hoye
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Sorry, no; “Tort Reform” is incorrect. Tort law is virtually the only way for an individual to seek redress for a wrong committed by a corporation, which is why corporations are the ones that want it – so that large organizations can engage in illegal behaviour without any significant risk of punitive damages being levied against them.

    Here’s an experiment for you: next time somebody tells you a story about some egregiously large sum being won in courts in redress for some minor infraction, go do some research on the actual case. The facts of the matter are invariably far different from story that you’re being told.

  9. Leonhard Euler
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Mike, I understand and appreciate everything you’re saying. In fact, I also agree with it. There is nothing scarier than living in a world where corporations have can flood the market with cheap, unsafe products and do so with no means of holding them accountable. However, given that frivolous lawsuits harm everyone and waste resources that can be used by persons bringing legit claims to bear, wouldn’t it benefit everyone (except garbage lawyers) to at least entertain the idea of reform? Or is this the best of all possible worlds with no room for improvement?

  10. Mike Hoye
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I think you’d need evidence that frivolous lawsuits are a significant burden on the system before making that claim, and that’s a claim not supported by the evidence. Very few genuinely meritless lawsuits get much traction, particularly in a system where legal fees are (de facto as in “client can afford it”, if not de jure as in “loser pays”) contingent on a win.

    When _people_ talk about tort reform, what they mean is “I want to pay less taxes”. When corporations and lobbyists talk about it, they mean “I want to pay less damages”. I’m not saying we’re in the best of all possible words; of course not. But guess who’d have their hands firmly on the levers of the actual tort reform process; it won’t be individual citizens arguing about streamlining the appeals process. It will be organizations that can afford to spend the kind of money and effort it takes to shape legislation to their own advantage.

    There is already a dramatic imbalance of power between the individual and the large corporation in this modern world, and “tort reform” is not about making that better, it’s about making it worse. I’m not opposed to measures that make society run more smoothly in principle, but I sure am opposed to those that let any large organization act with impunity.

  11. Darcy
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    May I point out that this is such a new parent rant? Clearly the purpose of all these warnings is that they are applied as stickers. The stickers should be removed from the car seat and given to your other off-spring as a toy, which they can then use to decorate their hands, shoes, dinner-table chair, favourite stuffed teddy bear and parents’ head. As well as producing comic relief warning messages, this helps the off-spring to view the incoming infant as a source of fun and play rather than a voracious attention-sucker who will leave no source of pleasure untouched. They are therefore a Good Thing.

  12. mhoye
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    May I point out that this is such a new parent rant?

    No! And also, these modern ones don’t come off easily.