You! In the middle! You're under arrest!

Forget the Europe’s debt crisis and tottering banks:  The European Union has identified another grave threat to the safety of its children’s’ future and moved with its usual authoritative efficiency to quash it.  Reports Bruno Waterfield at the Daily Telegraph:

The EU toy safety directive, agreed and implemented by Government, states that balloons must not be blown up by unsupervised children under the age of eight, in case they accidentally swallow them and choke.

And that’s not all:

Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14.

That’s right.  According to the EU, you have to be 14 before you can fully comprehend the dangers that lurk behind the oh-so-innocent-looking but oh-so-deadly inflatable paper roll.   Interestingly, therefore, while you can legally pour your 13 year old a glass of Champagne in France, England and several other EU nations, you can’t give him or her a party favor along with it.  That’s a sure New Year’s Eve party pooper.

The article goes on to quote an EU spokesman:

These safety standards have been agreed by the UK together with the other EU member states in order to prevent every parent’s worst nightmare.

I don’t know what mirror universe this person inhabits, but I have two children, and I can assure him that, among my worst nightmares, having them choke to death on a rubber balloon or a paper whistle did not crack the top 1000.  I do worry that somewhere, somehow, some bunch of nitwits are  figuring out yet another way to advance their own agenda by throwing yet another monkey wrench into the works.  But they seem to be serious about this:

Another EU official admitted that the new regulations could be difficult to understand but insisted that safety experts knew best.

“You might say that small children have been blowing up balloons for generations, but not anymore and they will be safer for it,” said an official.

I don’t think the new regulations are “difficult to understand.”  I think they are just plain silly.  It’s easy to see how things like this happen, however.

At a certain point, the EU decided that it needed to establish safety regulations for children’s toys.  After awhile, they had managed to cover the topic more or less comprehensively, banning exploding toilet seats, electrified rubber ducks, lead toy soldiers,  and rocket-powered scooters — but there was still this division, or department, or lunatic fringe getting paid salaries to continue to regulate the toy market, and by gum, that’s what they will keep on doing until someone hollers “Enough!”

As for the “official’s” grim declaration of  “not anymore,” perhaps someone might take this twit aside and explain the difference between passing a ludicrous regulation and actually enforcing it.

Do they really think for one second that 99% of parents are going to pay any attention to this whatsoever?  “Sorry, Samantha, no toy balloons for you.  Not until you can spell ‘hazardous,’ or stop drinking out of the dog’s water bowl — whichever comes first.  But here — have a glass of port.  Chin chin!”