Danger Everywhere! (The Signs are There!)

Hi Readers! Here’s a nice little life snippet from David Broadbent, a father of three girls in Perth, Western Australia. He’s too busy recording his kids conversations to blog, but he has put 389 of those conversations into a book www.extrafingers.net.au. Enjoy! – L.


Isabella, after we’d made it to the West End on Rottnest Island in Western Australia about two weeks ago and had had a bit of a look around: “Dad, why are there so many signs?”

Dad: “They’re warnings, Issy.”

Isabella: “Warnings? About what?”

Dad: “About all the things that can hurt you?”

Isabella: “Like what, Dad?”

Dad: “Oh, cliffs falling on your head, unsteady footpaths giving way, that sort of thing.”

Isabella: “Was everything this dangerous when you were a little boy?”

Dad: “Do you mean, did we have signs everywhere when I was little?”

Isabella: “Yeah.”

Dad: “I can hardly remember any signs when I was a boy.”

Isabella: “Oh! Well what has it become so dangerous now for?”

Dad: “It’s not dangerous now. Things are the same now as they’ve always been. All that’s changed is that people now think that everything has to have a warning sign on it in case someone accidently hurts themselves.”

Isabella: “But why can’t people just watch out for things all by themselves? And besides, Dad. You can’t warn people about everything. There are too many things in the world that can be dangerous. I know. Just tell everyone that they have to do it themselves.”

Dad: “Do what?”

Isabella: “You know, look about for things. Otherwise there is going to be sand everywhere with lots of signs sticking out of it. Or rocks with signs sticking out of them.”

20 Responses

  1. The signs have proliferated in an attempt to limit legal liability. Unfortunately, nowadays if somebody gets hurt, it’s almost always assumed to be somebody else’s fault.

  2. Oh, there I go spouting RFID industry propaganda again.

  3. when are we going to have signs that warn about the danger of signs?

  4. wahoofive…you took the words right out of my mouth.

    The most amusing part of that transcript, is the child speaking completely of common sense. Maybe some parents should start listening to what their kids have to say, instead of drilling them with what the parents fear.

    I wonder what the Dad said after Isabella’s last comment.

  5. What intrigues me the most is the idea that maybe–just maybe–we can stop this insanity. Most people seem to accept these kinds of “modern” developments as inevitable and once they happen accept them as necessary evils. But what if enough people stood up and said, “enough already!”

    What if we got together and went to the authorities and said, “we’d like the signs removed?”

    What if a bunch of us showed up at our local school board and demanded a “ride your bike to school program?”

    What if we started a grass roots movement to change the laws to raise the standards required to prove negligence in lawsuits?

    What if, instead of creating a new law with horrible unintended consequences after a child is murdered we did something positive instead, like funding a treatment center for the troubled, abused, or mentally ill?

    What if the people in Atlanta made it clear that the DA who indicted a father for the tragic death of his son would never be elected?

    Sure, maybe we can’t change the world. There are all those entrenched and powerful special interests out there. But if we don’t take action then we will only have ourselves to blame if things keep getting worse.

  6. Amen, Isabella!

  7. Hey David,
    For you:


    Beware of the sign.

  8. Newsbiscuit had a fun item around this topic just yesterday : Sycamore trees to carry falling seeds warning
    Councils up and down the country have decided to attach warning notices to all Sycamore trees bringing their dangerous autumn seed distributing activities to the public’s attention.

    One concerned council spokesman highlighted the issue: ‘The fact that these seeds have been falling for centuries without anyone ever being hurt is more down to luck than judgement. Our experts have told us there is a ten million to one chance that a stray seed could take out an eye and that is too great a chance to take.’

    ‘We’d prefer to impose a 500 metre exclusion zone around each of these vicious freaks of nature but obviously that’s impractical. Instead all Sycamore trees will be taped off with a notice stating: ‘CAUTION: Falling Life Threatening Sycamore Seeds. Hard hats and goggles mandatory’. You can’t be too careful, an you?’

    See it for yourself here: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2010/10/18/sycamore-trees-to-carry-falling-seeds-warning/

  9. That’s fantastic, go Isabella!

  10. I’m sure there are MORE signs now, but I have to admit, one of my oddly nostalgic memories is being about 4 years old, and badgering my dad to read me the Warning Sign at the beach about various kinds of dangerous waves: sneaker waves, under tow, tsunami. They had a little icon by each, so I thought it was some kind of cartoon.

  11. Danger Everywhere

  12. Our country has gone mad…..

  13. “[Chorus:]
    Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
    Blockin’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind
    Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign”
    © 1970, 2002 Five Man Electrical Band
    Nothing much has changed!

  14. Beware of Badgers. (an actual sign)
    My children (3) had their bus transportation cut this year for budget reasons. They now bike 3 miles every day and LOVE it. There was so much opposition to this in our neighborhood because of all the potential dangers. What if they fall off? (they get up). What if they get stung by a bee? What about the wildlife, specifically badgers, that live in the wooded area they bike through? So there is now a Beware of Badgers sign. There are also Caution School Students signs everywhere along the way, as if the hundreds of colorful children 15 minutes prior to school doesn’t clue you in. I bike by that sign everyday and laugh my ass off at the morons in charge of “keeping us safe”. They should have a “Beware of Children” sign for all the wildlife.

  15. Actually, I think warning signs have always been there (maybe not all that colourful and illustrated). Only when we were little we just ignored them, and as we grew up they gave us ideas (whoever didn’t step on the grass just because it was forbidden?).

  16. When rules take the place of ‘common sense’, common sense gets destroyed.

  17. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?

  18. This great kid needs to be fed lawyers for breakfast.

  19. My favorite sign, I saw these a lot when I went to Mt St Helens

  20. […] writer David Broadbent explains to his daughter. [Free-Range Kids] Plus: Australian lawmaker told not to change lightbulb in his […]

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