Our Overly-Litigous Society

I stopped at the dollar store yesterday to pick up some (generic) Wiffle balls for playing some backyard baseball with our kids. While waiting in the checkout line, I was absent-mindedly reading the package when I saw the following…

WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD — This toy is a small ball. Not for children under three years.

Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise me, especially given the frequency with which stores such as Wal-Mart get sued, but… How is it that a baseball-sized ball (with holes in it, no less) could pose a choking hazard? What kid under the age of three could even come close to putting something like this in his/her mouth? Admittedly, this isn’t as strange/funny as some of the other consumer warnings that are out there, but still… If someone manages to somehow choke on a ball like this, then I’m not sure that they’re cut out to live. And I say that as the parent of a young child that sits squarely inside the ‘Wiffle ball danger zone.’ I guess this is just another sign that we live in an overly-litigous society.

7 Responses to “Our Overly-Litigous Society”

  1. Anonymous

    Nickel —

    I wouldn’t put it past some marketing-type to do this as a set up. Actually, it’s pretty clever!

    But I doubt if it’s rigged — kids that age can’t keep a secret and he’d blurt it out in a second if it was a set up.


  2. Anonymous

    But who’s fault is it really when these sort of things happen? is it the companies fault for making a product a child can swallow or is it the parents fault for not supervising? Its like suing gun manufacterer’s when a shooting occurs. is it not the fault of the person pulling the trigger or the fault of a person not responsibly locking a gun up?

  3. Mike: When I first read your comment, I thought that you had nailed it. However, I just double-checked the warning on the package and it seems that the warning was far more specific than I had recalled when writing this entry. It actually refers to the balls themselves, so there’s no question what they’re talking about. I’ve updated my entry to reflect the exact warning message.

  4. maribeth: That’s amazing — assuming that it’s a true story. Almost sounds like a prank that someone pulled (open the machine, put the kid in, call fire department and act amazed).

  5. Anonymous

    There may be more reasons than just lawsuits:
    Maybe we live in a overly protective society.
    Parents overly protect children, and love to see product manufacturers concerned about their children safety.

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