Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dodged Bullet

My kids are older, and sort of over the whole Dora thing, which is why I hadn't paid much attention to the whole Mattel recall mess. Until this article on the little girl who swallowed magnets that came from a Polly Pockets toy.

Some of you in North Carolina might remember back in August of 2005 when The Boy decided he would put one of these exact magnets in his mouth, to see if they would stick to his fillings.

Well, you'll also remember he found that these tiny little magnets, do actually, stick to fillings. As a matter of fact, they stick so well, that they pull out half of the said filling and generate great amounts of cold hard cash for the dentist.

After reading about the little girl who swallowed the magnets I feel very grateful that all our troubles only added up to a root canal and not a life and death situation.

The little girls mother said something in the article that got my attention: "I never thought in a million years she'd swallowed a magnet,".

All I can say is: But for the grace of God go I.

Because I never thought, in a million years, my seven year old son would try to magnetize his teeth. Well, I guess I would say, "Not in a hundred years."

But honestly, how many times as parents do we do this "Not my Kid!" thing?

When I think back on the whole magnet/filling situation I remember being irritated about the dentist part, but I never, not even once, thought to throw the magnets out, or complain to the manufacturer, or take the toy back. Honestly, long after the root canal was finished and the Polly's got chucked in the trash I was still finding those little magnets everywhere. Including one I found several weeks ago right here in The New House.

So I guess what I am coming to is the next quote from this mom:

"I went straight to a lawyer," she added.

I am not sure how I feel about this. There is the mom-part that would hate to see my child suffer, almost die, and then have a $40,000 bill for all the trouble. You gotta pay that bill somehow right?

But at the same time, at what point do we (the parent) take some responsibility?

I don't know her situation. Which is far more troubling than ours. Incomparable really.

But in my situation those magnets starting falling out within hours of purchase. Polly pocket toys are cheap, that's why I liked them. In the past they had provided hours of entertainment and that's why I didn't think twice about them falling apart. Taking it back for a refund would have used more money in gas than the toy was worth. The Girl would have been sad that I took the toy back because all the other working parts were in order. The magnets would fall out, but if you put them back into their little holes and quick! put them together with the opposing magnet, everything held together.

It was a band of reasons and extenuation's that made me deem this toy safe. I acted irresponsibly as a parent, and I've got the dental bills to prove it. Yes, The Boy had some responsibility in it too, but without trying to sound like I am making excuses for him, little boys do some weird stuff. I think it's how they learn.

So my son didn't end up with a life and death infection, but he did have a lot painful dental issues that caused a lot of angst and financial indigestion. If I am painfully honest, it was my responsibility to assess the broken toy situation and think about the consequences of my young child's possible actions. For heaven sakes, the magnet the seven year old put in his mouth was part of a toy purchased for a five year old.

I really feel for this mom, and I feel uncomfortable with the litigious nature of the US culture right now. What is the answer? I really don't know.

I do know I want to learn and remember. This article was a good wake up call to realize that there is much I look away from because it's convenient in the moment.

I'm praying that God would open my eyes to the things that I am blind to when it comes to my children. Yes, they are good kids. Yes, they are mature. Yes, they are learning to make good choices. But they are kids.

Above all things it's my job to remember that.


spaghettipie said...

So appreciate your thoughts. There are times that I am careless with my daughter because I know she "normally" doesn't get into things "like that," but all it takes is one time. It is difficult to draw the line between manufacturer responsibility and parental responsibility...but in the end, parental responsibility is really all that I have control over, so I better at least own that part.

Blue Skies said...

I agree with you. It is so easy to overlook seemingly small things that turn out to have big consequences. I'm not sure what I would do if I were in that family's shoes but I am fairly certain that if one of my kids did what yours did I'd react the same way.

I feel justified now in my intense dislike of Polly Pockets. Previously I just got very aggravated at finding their parts scattered around the house like Christmas tree needles. Thankfully I've strongly objected to increasing our Polly population and we've managed to not own any of the recalled items. When I think of how many times I pulled Polly clothes out of Emily's mouth..... ooh, I shudder.