Outrage of the Day: Coffee Banned from Mother’s Group for “Safety”

Hi Readers! Here’s one to get your blood (and water) boiling, direct from The Mirror, in England. – L.

Mums have been told they cannot have a cup of coffee while looking after their toddlers at a children’s centre – because it’s against health and safety rules.

Council officers told the group to change its name from Coffee and Play to Baby Play – and swap biscuits for fruit and breadsticks as snacks – because it’s against health and safety rules.

No children have been hurt in the five years the group has been running but the council said hot drinks were dangerous – even in special safety flasks.

How I remember the months when I was home on maternity leave and our giant Manhattan apartment complex had a community room. What brought many of us down there was the joy of having someplace to hang out with our kids (and by kids I mean “other adults”). What kept us sane was: Free coffee!

I don’t doubt that coffee presents a hazard. I just think that NO coffee presents TWO hazards: 1 – Insane parents. 2 – Insane law creep. When we start taking age-old, pretty darn safe practices and squinting at them them through the danger microscope, we will start outlawing everything normal and good, including moms drinking coffee….

Oh wait. – L.

Arrest this dangerous hussy?

90 Responses

  1. This is a large problem in Britain. In this story, a man actually drowned in 3ft deep water because Health & Safety regulations prevented firefighters from entering water which is more than ankle deep.

    This sort of insanity is the inevitable result of a large bureaucratic government. In some cases, it’s a result of well-meaning people with rules that look good on paper. In other cases, it’s simply hordes of bureaucrats trying to justify their salary by passing new regulations.

    In any case, it’s just one more piece of evidence that allowing a government bureaucracy to control anything beyond the basics of national security and maintaining free trade is nothing short of national suicide.

  2. That’s ridiculous! Though I am also a little concerned that they told them they couldn’t serve cookies either! and offered bread as an alternative, isn’t that like trading a dime for two nickels? its pretty much the same nutritional value….

  3. I’m typing this comment while my 5 month old is sitting on my lap trying to grab the computer and guess what? I’m also drinking a giant cup of hot coffee.

    Will they be making it illegal for children to be in coffee shops next? That may seem ridiculous but it’s a fairly logical extension of laws like this. It’s a slippery slope.

  4. Both my kiddos learned the word “hot” because of my mugs of coffee (well, that and candles)…I remember my mother handing my daughter a (glass!) mug with milk in it on one occasion and her furrowing her little brow and questioning, “Hot?”…Removing all risk, or attempting to, does not make for smart kids who can navigate the world (or the local coffee shop).

  5. The government sponsored playgroup that I occasionally attend doesn’t allow hot drinks either. Not even in a spill proof mug. I have to admit to being tempted to sneak out to my stroller for a quick gulp, but usually try to resist temptation.
    How are children ever going to learn how to behave around certain things if they are never exposed to them?
    Oh, wait, they won’t.

  6. Perhaps the moms should put something stronger in those safety flasks to deal with this bullshit.

  7. When my daughter was about 5 months, we went out to a restaurant. I had a cup of coffee, which had enough cream in it to be fairly cool, but I still had it all the way across the table. She suddenly stood up and with more coordination than I thought she possessed, spilled it all the way down my front, drenching every item of clothing I had on. Perhaps they are concerned about fashion and don’t want a bunch of moms having to walk around the rest of the morning covered in coffee. 🙂
    P.S. I survived. She would have as well.

  8. We had the same rule here at our “Great Expectations” government sponsored baby group, and that was ten years ago. I always felt they were saying that we as moms were not responsible enough to handle hot coffee around our babies. It was insulting.

  9. Now that I think of it, there was also a rule about no unhealthy beverages (slurpies, soft drinks) and they always served us this room temperature apple juice. Gag.

  10. I’m more concerned about people and companies feeding kids artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. They’re in TONS of packaged food now, including things you wouldn’t imagine would use them, like bread products.

  11. Oh, the joys of government idiots with too much time on their hands and no desire to address the real issues. Ridiculous rules. Rules like this are just as crazy as our elementary schools banning candy, cupcakes and pizza at classroom parties because of “‘wellness policies” (fat children pevention) and then serving absolute trash for lunch every day.

  12. When will people tell the rulemakers to &^%$ off, and drink your coffee anyway?

    Sure, internet bravado. But until people start pushing back against the ridiculous rules, they (the ridiculous rules) will only get more severe.

    So, drink your coffee. If people don’t like it, that’s just too bad.

  13. One of the main pet peeves I like to rant about is society’s overemphasis on safety and, as Lenore like to call it, “worst first thinking.” It applies in a lot of areas.

    (1) The “chipped keys” for cars. We are fortunate in that our cars, while old and ugly, get us around & don’t use “chipped keys.” Instead you can make a copy for $3 at any old key-cutting place. Having to pay $200 (they tell me) for a key because, you guessed it, SECURITY–people worrying someone will steal their cars, that’s just ridicullous.

    The option should exist for a person to have a “normal” key if they want, in fact, while I tend to be very “hands off” where it concerns the government meddling in private industry, I dare say I think the government should even require car companies to offer a “non-chipped” key setup for people like me who don’t worry every 2/10ths of a second someone is trying to steal my car (even though we did once have it happen to us).

    (2) Passwords for computer logins. I can’t STAND sites which MAKE you change your password ever 30 days. One of my prior jobs involved me & the others having to login to about 5 different systems. EVERYONE of them MADE you change your password every 30 days. And the rules were ridiculous, something along these lines–it had to be at least 10 characters, it had to begin with a letter, you couldn’t have a letter repeat consecutively (no kk), you have to have at least one uppercase letter and it had to END in a number.

    My way of doing things: my ebay account, I’ve had it 10 years, with the same 4 digit password. I’ve not changed it once. Every single thing I can do that way, I do.

    At the same job, you were forbidden from using a cell phone at all (although we all did “on the sly” anyway, you expect 100 people with babysitters to contact etc to not even answer a quick text all day, get real) because the “client” had worries because 1 person 1 time was texting inside company information to a client.

    Then there’s airport security (George Carlin complained about that BEFORE 9/11), schools being like prisons (thankfully not ours). One of the ones I hate the most: the over-emphasis on a spouse possibly doing another wrong to where our bank wouldn’t allow me to cancel my wife’s ATM card when she lost it, SHE had to because her name was on the card (even though both of us are on the account & she worked all day to where she couldn’t get around to taking care of it, thankfully she later found it). In like manner when she was pregnant her OB-GYN wouldn’t let me reschedule her appointment because of her “privacy rights” even though I’m her husband and we’re not divorcing etc (but in their words “you never know”).

    It never seems to end.

    That’s why I am very big on being someone who has back-lashed against security. I leave keys in the car (even AFTER ours was stolen once in 2005 when we lived in Tucson AZ), I sometimes leave items like my wallet at the counter if I’m at Burger King and have to run to the car to get something right quick, I don’t lock the doors to my house when we leave for the day, all of my computer logins have the same password (and I don’t change it if they don’t make it & I once threatened to leave our bank when they were nagging me to change the password to my online login). I find life is so much less stressful when you quit trying to make everything 100% free of risk this way.

    So this story, while infuriating, doesn’t surprise me at all.


  14. What are my kids supposed to drink, then? They love them some coffee. (Coffee is healthy!)

    I actually don’t like my coffee hot – I drink it “warm” – would that be OK?

    I hope ice is banned as well. Wouldn’t want the darlings to get a chill.

    I agree, there probably is more danger in forcing moms to put up with all those kids without access to the Elixir of Patience. My kids learned early to suggest coffee when they felt I was overreacting to their nonsense.

    No offense to Mormons, but did you ever go to Utah for a business meeting? We’re talking NO caffeine anywhere, and no chocolate either. Even the local PF Chang’s didn’t serve Chinese tea! My first day there was verrrrrry long! The next morning I thankfully found a rebellious place that served coffee.

  15. Then I suppose I have been exposing my child to undue dangers by drinking coffee at home and *gasp* meeting another mom friend at a coffee shop? I have never burned my son in his nearly 4 years. I have never burned the children I have babysat. The greater danger is my awful mood when I don’t have a steady stream of caffeine flowing through my veins. *cue Psycho music*

  16. A public school-sponsored playgroup I used to go to also banned coffee cups in the playroom. Since the playgroup relied greatly on parent donations for snacks and supplies, making the group less friendly for parents did not help. It’s pretty much defunct now, mostly due to other funding issues, but there weren’t many people left who cared to fight for it. I’m not saying it was all due to coffee, but that was one big symptom of the problems.

  17. This is totally off-topic, but this post got me thinking about how we all warm up our infants’ drinks up to a certain age. Personally I quit that soon after their 1st birthday, but I have a friend whose (heathy, large) 5-year-old cannot drink milk until it has been heated. Love these people, and the child is sweet, but seriously? They stayed at my house over Christmas and I’m sure they thought I was the worst mom ever.

  18. I think I speak for everybody here when I say, ‘huh???’.

    I truly, deeply and totally worry about the human race.

  19. Sorry, that’s insane. I do voluntary work in a mothers’ center and there’s a breaktfast twice a week, and of course everybody’s drinking coffee, while the little ones are crawling around – and we use breakable cups!!! I can’t remember any accident!

  20. My infant daughter once pulled my coffee cup on herself at church. Naturaly I felt like a boob and she wasn’t real impressed either but everyone survived with no lasting harm.

  21. There is a Family Resource Center that has banned hot drinks from it’s playgroup here as well. I got told as much in the most patronizing, condesending tone possible one day when I brazenly brought in my sealed travel mug. I never went back. Apparently even adults cannot be trusted with hot beverages anymore.

  22. I don’t see this as a government issue at all, but one where the current zeitgeist is safety at all costs.

  23. For crying out loud… how did we all survive to adulthood to even make up these asinine rules?

    I don’t drink coffee but my husband does and I’ve watched him drink it while holding one of our children in his arms. Not once in the 11 1/2 years we’ve had kids has he ever spilled a drop on them. Why? Because he understands the inherent danger in hot out of the pot coffee and keeps it away from them and is very careful while drinking.

    And the kids learned very early that coffee was hot. My youngest is 19 months and one of his first words was “hot”. Learned mostly from grabbing for a coffee mug or getting to close to the space heaters (which do get very hot when they are on). Now all you have to say is “hot” and he veers away.

  24. Are these bureaucratic dimwits allowed coffee in their offices?… I’m going to venture to guess yes…

  25. Haha ridiculous. Made me think of this, though, so it’s not all bad:


    As she says about coffee “I don’t need it. But they (her children) need me to have it.”

  26. I wonder how I survived to adulthood. My mother’s morning ritual when I was a kid was a cup of coffee. It still is. Mom is also a heavy smoker. In fact, when I was young, she and her friends would sit around smoking and drinking coffee or tea while all of the kids played. Hey, it was the ’60s and early ’70s. If it was late enough in the day, sometimes the women would even (gasp!) have a cocktail or glass of wine. I learned the following at a very early age:
    Coffee and tea are hot.
    Cigarettes are hot.
    Cigarette smoke is nasty. Even at a young age, I vowed never to smoke.

  27. Take away my coffee and someone will end up in the hospital. For everyone’s safety keep your rules away from my beverage of choice.

  28. LRH I’m glad someone else noted Carlin’s early observations on safety and security. I laugh at those that worry about the unlikely.
    These people in charge are not using enough of their imagination to think of what can be dangerous.
    Why aren’t they up in arms about the possibility that coffee creamer when set on fire can produces a large explosion.
    Mentos added to Diet Coke can be used to create a liquid bomb.

  29. I see a problem: Deny the mothers coffee and the logical substitute will be wine.

  30. hey, lots of the time it’s nothing to do with the actual law and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) but just councils getting high on bureaucracy. This site is worth looking at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/

  31. 10 years ago in an outdoor cafe, my infant daughter stuck her bare foot (it was summer) in a bowl of Italian wedding soup that was scalding hot! Don’t even ask how it happened. I couldn’t recreate it if I tried. Weird stuff happens. Long story short….no lasting damage!

  32. My kids learned about hot from a very early age. My in- laws have a wood stove, and when it was hot enough to hurt just a little, but not burn-or even make them cry (we tested it with our hands first) we would let them wander over to it. Of course, they would go to touch it, and as they did, we would say “hot”. After that, we didn’t have to worry about stoves, hot drinks, Daddy’s recently turned off motorcycle engine, etc. If you tell them something is hot, they believe you and stay away.

  33. This just makes me laugh. I am the mother of 3 kids, all under the age of 5. When my morning (hot) coffee is done, I switch to (hot) tea. None of my kids have suffered from my coffee drinking, even on my lap on an airplane.

    Nor have they been burned by our wood-burning stove, which sits out in the living room well within their reach. It gets over 1000 degree (F), but they understand that it’s hot, and know to stay away from hot things.

    Kids aren’t dumb unless we make them that way.

  34. My kid’s glasses bit her head a week ago (not kidding – freakiest accident ever). Nothing is safe, I tell you! Ban everything!

  35. When I was a little kid, I was curious about the pretty burner on the stove and put my hand toward it. My mom caught my hand and held it over the burner, just enough so I could feel the heat radiating off it. She then said “hot” to me so I would connect the word with the feeling.

    The result: I have a healthy respect for fire and anything that generates heat and am always very careful when using the stove. I doubt kids in playgroups where coffee is banned will learn to be as careful as I did.

  36. Ridiculous. Even worse than the coffee, is the ban on cookies. Now health and safety rules are putting us on diets? Not that some of us (well, me) couldn’t use a diet, really?

    @SKL – You warmed up your infants drinks? Mine got everything at body temp or room temp until she started drinking milk and juice which came at refrigerature temp. The only warmed beverage my child has ever consumed is hot chocolate.

  37. I’m with Donna — the only drinks I ever warmed for a baby were formula supplements. Their main beverage came at natural body temperature and I didn’t warm juices. Not meaning to be snarky, but I never realized “we all” warm up drinks — I didn’t actually realize most people, or even anybody, really, did it.

  38. Amy makes an interesting point — every child in the world prior to about 1920 would have been burned to death if the mere presence of coffee in a room with them was a real danger. Ever heard of stoves and fireplaces? Even radiators are more of an ongoing “danger” than a few cups of coffee once a week.

    How quickly the country that survived the Blitz, has descended into complete helplessness.

    I think that even requiring covered, spillproof cups would be a bit over the top, but that would make a lot more sense than banning the stuff entirely.

  39. And yes, proscribing food for adult gatherings is also absurd.

  40. This definitely falls in the “don’t know whether to laugh or cry” category for me. I feel hysterical-type confusion just reading about it.

  41. By that definition, so are the toys, shoelaces, blankets, strollers, crayons, plastic cups, plastic spoons, any feeding utensils, buttons, zippers…I can go on with all the potentials. Even the air they are breathing is potentially dangerous and harmful. Even the parents, teachers, organizers themselves are potential dangers to our “helpless and not so smart” children. After all if people can make up dumbass rules like this, they definitely can make other dumbass decisions that would affect the children in a negative way. So ban them all. Hey, why don’t they just ban having children all together. That way there is no chance in having children that can get hurt. Or even miscarriages. See, when you stop to think of it as they do, it sounds completely absurd, paranoid and ludicrous. They can’t make one potential an issue and not others. Then they are just picking and choosing what suits THEM, and not what suits the children.

  42. i love it that everybody thinks that this is stupid 🙂 Our children’s centre banned hot drinks, squash, biscuits, crackers. Everybody got a slap on the wrist when a mum brought in chocolate buttons because it was her kid’s birthday. You would have thought she was handing out cocaine, not tiny little packets of about 5 chocolate buttons. I don’t know how these people think we manage at home. I have hot drinks on the go all the time and not once have my children scalded themselves. I also allow them into the kitchen and yes, they like to stir the dinner when it’s on the hob 🙂 In a couple of years my 6 year old will be making dinner 🙂 I’d better not let that slip at the children’s centre!

  43. OK ladies, I knew that technically it is not true that “we all” warm up infants’ drinks. I did not mean literal “all.” Originally I had typed a parenthetical to limit my comment, but I thought, we all are smart enough to get the point. Please tell me I don’t have to correct that assumption.

    My mom never “warmed” anything for those whom she breastfed, and didn’t even own a bottle for them, so I do get that. But the kids did get warm milk.

    My kids were adopted so I had no chance to breastfeed them. They were used to having stuff warm, so I warmed it for a while. Actually, I mixed my 9mo’s formula with warm water, but I warmed my 12mo’s milk for a while because she was in shock from the adoption and I thought she ought to at least eat. As it was she only drank about an ounce at a time.

  44. I think it would be more dangerous to the kids to ban coffee for the mommies! When he was about 15 months old my oldest pulled a cup of hot coffee down on himself. We stripped off his clothes, sprayed him with cold water from the kitchen sink sprayer (which he obviously did not appreciate at all!) and got him redressed. His chest was a little pink, but not only did he learn that coffee is hot (and gets you sprayed with cold water–really, it was a reflex that made me do it!) but *I* also was reminded to put my coffee out of reach, at least until it was cooler.

  45. I used to run ministry of education funded playgroup here in New Zealand, started running it over 9 years ago and handed it on 41/2 years ago. We had a kitchen area where the kids weren’t allowed were we were supposed to drink our hot drinks as they weren’t allowed in the play area. It was a ministry requirement and had been since before I started going 11 years ago. Mind you we only ever strictly enforced it when we had our ministry person coming 🙂

  46. SKL, I just meant that I never even heard of doing it (except maybe in a way that implied that the person doing it was highly unusual), so I’m surprised to hear it referred to in a way that implies it’s very common. I didn’t take it literally, but I’m still surprised by the suggestion that it’s quite normal. I guess I don’t get out enough. 🙂

  47. My stepkids mom still warms up their milk at 6 and 9 and doesn’t allow them to drink cold water. God knows why.

  48. @pentamom

    When I had my first child in 2000 the hospital warmed all her bottles so when we got home I did the same. It’s what they (doctors and nurses and books) told me to do. It was a freaking pain in the ass but she refused to take them unless they were warm until she was around 7 or 8 months old. I never warmed any other drinks.

    A year later I had my first son at a different hospital and they gave me bottles at room temp so I never warmed them for him unless they came out of the fridge . A year after that I had #3 and she really didn’t care and would take them straight from the fridge from about 3 months on. I never warmed bottles after the first (unless they were coming out of the fridge which was rare since I made them as I needed them).

    Maybe it’s regional but where I had my oldest it was common. Everyone assumed you warmed a bottle. I had several people come up to me when I worked at wal-mart asking if I could hold a bottle under the hot water to warm it and bottle warmers were THE thing (I never used one). It was less common when we moved but my neighbors were aghast when I didn’t warm #2’s bottles and when #3 would drink hers cold. They had never heard of such an awful thing… all baby bottles should be warmed or they would give baby a tummy ache (so they said, my kids never seemed to suffer).

  49. When I first started reading, I thought “okay, maybe a bit nervous-Nellyish, but OK.” Then I got to the “even in special safety flasks” part and said, “WTF? How stupid can you BE?”

  50. I can see it now…cops come rushing in. One of them stops all the others. “Back off guys…she has…coffee in her hands. Quick! Call for additional back up!”. lol

  51. People used to heat baby bottles of milk / formula very hot to kill germs or whatever, when I was little. Then they would wait until it cooled enough for the baby to drink (I recall being taught how to test the milk on my forearm to make sure it would not burn the baby). So if you did not breastfeed (and many didn’t / don’t), it was the norm to serve warm milk/formula. Obviously breastmilk is warm, too (and I assume that most folks who give breastmilk in the bottle also warm it up to a point), so warm is what most infants are used to. (The fact that we can now mix formula powder with warm water rather than “warming it up” as a separate step seems to be a bit of a technicality.) Anyhoo. I think 5 is a little old for that, but what do I know?

  52. I agree that the rule banning coffee is insane. I DO think that requiring secure no-spill lids (not the disposable cups that lids easily pop off) would be sensible.

    I worked for 3 yrs in a small community hospital. During that time I was aware of 3 children with 3rd degree burns from their parent’s coffee. One little girl had been burned so badly over her entire chest that she would require multiple surgeries throughout adolescence to release the scar tissue and allow normal physical development. In all these cases, the child had grabbed the parent’s cup when the parent was looking elsewhere.

    In a room full of toddlers, when the parents are paying as much attention to each other as to the children, spill-proof cups is a common-sense precaution.

  53. I know there is no physical reason to warm milk for a 5 year old, but it’s probably just a preference for the child. Like some kids like chocolate milk over plain or orange juice over apple. Definitely nothing wrong with warming their milk unless you are they type who is bothered by the extra step. (Kind of like you can eat pizza cold, but some prefer it only warm.) I wonder if it was more common to warm their milk for the first several years back in the 50’s/60’s? The reason I say this is that I was watching a rerun of the 50’s sitcom “Make Room for Daddy” and they mentioned warming the 5 year old little girl’s milk for her.

  54. SKL, I don’t know when you were in Utah last, and I live here and am, in fact, Mormon, but we have coffee places on just about every corner and chocolate is practically a staple in every Mormon family’s home. Not sure where you get your ideas. We don’t drink coffee but it is available here!

    I think this rule is so ridiculous. I guess I shouldn’t be drinking my hot chocolate at my playgroup while my kids run around and play. I agree with whoever said that it’s insulting to make this rule because it implies we aren’t responsible enough to drink a hot drink around our little ones. Insane!

  55. @Marlene, I do know that warming milk till quite hot was normal before pasteurization as temps above 75C kills most pathogens, and TB can be passed on to children (and people with weakened immune systems) through the milk from infected cows. Dairy herds have only been regularly tested for TB in my life time.

  56. Everyone can come to my house for coffee and biscuits… and stay for beer/wine and darts.

  57. O.M.G. I have a non-sleeping four year old and a newborn–with the amount of sleep I get, it is just plain dangerous for me to be anywhere near my kids, much less in charge of supervising them, if I’m not drinking coffee!

    At my neighborhood playgroup, we serve wine. 🙂

  58. The thought of a toddler taking a drink from a parent’s coffee cup (even if it’s cooled down) is frightening. Just what you need–a two-year-old jacked up on caffeine!

  59. I suggest a label be stamped on every newborn.

    “Warning, this child is at risk of injury from cuts, burns, falls, spills, accidents, alcoholism, drug addiction and child abuse. Always keep you child close at hand to prevent injury.”

  60. @ Bob Davis: If a toddler took a sip of coffee, unless there was a LOT of sugar in there, I suspect the toddler would spit it out!

  61. Bob Davis, I’m not sure caffeine “jacks up” little kids. The kids I’ve known who drink it are quite calm. Sugar, on the other hand, makes one of my kids crazy.

  62. Jenna, I had a client in a small town near Salt Lake City. We had an early morning / all day meeting at their office and it did not occur to me to get my caffeine fix beforehand. Every other meeting place I’ve been to has coffee on site and it’s always offered when people come for a morning meeting. The client was a health products company, so it may be that they took the taboos a little farther than other Mormons. There was no chocolate, no soda, no caffeine of any kind available there. They had some air-water or something but it was not a substitute, LOL. I did notice some of the employees bringing in caffeinated drinks that they had bought elsewhere.

    They did have an absolutely gorgeous mountain view, though.

  63. One sip of caffeine isn’t going to “jack up” anybody, unless it’s via placebo effect.

    @justanotherjen Well, yes, I said the only things I warmed up were formula bottles, but like SKL said, I really just mixed them using warm water. But I only supplemented with formula, so most of what my kids drank at that age was body temp, not “warmed up.” And once they hit a year old and started drinking cow’s milk instead of formula, I never thought about heating it. I guess they weren’t used to it, but they got used to it pretty quick when they were thirsty. They never seemed to reject the cold milk.

    I’ve always heard of warming up formula bottles, it’s true, but what I meant was that I never heard of warming up everything an infant drinks. That’s what SKL seemed to be referring to but maybe I just misunderstood.

  64. And, yet, people are still not able to make the connection…

  65. @JaneW – my 20 month old actually likes the taste of black coffee. It must be genetic!

    My kid would be in much worse danger if I had to care for her as an uncaffeinated person than the likelihood of my spilling said precious liquid gold on her. That would be such a waste! 😉

  66. I got a reminder the other day just how hot the restaurant machines can make the water or coffee. I got tea, and waited a few minutes before I took my sip. I didn’t taste anything all weekend after it scalded my tongue.

    Now, the average temp of coffee out of my own home brew, or for my own tea, is generally much cooler. If I spill that, it is not going to take my skin off. The stuff at the shop….well, I can see some very nasty burns happening with them. Added to the fact that those paper and foam cups hold the heat better than my ceramic mug that actually helps cool things down.

    What I think is that the places should brew their own, and tell people they can’t bring in from the outside…unless it is freshly ground to be made into cups for everyone. The chance of burns would go way down unless they are using a commercial coffee maker. Yes, I know, this would never go over. Maybe it would be better to have the coffee cup people sign a form saying they will pay for medical treatment if their coffee spills and injures anyone. If my drink is cool, it is a no brainer.

    Better yet, just stay out of it altogether and not worry about it.

  67. My husband has permanent red, raised scars covering 75% of his neck and chest, from being burned when he was 7 y.o. He was trying to bring a tray of tea to his mother, who was in bed with a cold. (Wasn’t he a sweet, considerate guy?! He still is!!) Poor kid tripped walking up the stairs to his mom’s room, and spilled the scalding tea right onto himself. Hence, a very serious injury. I only mention it because while there are many anecdotal comments here about encounters with hot liquids with no lasting harm caused, it should be noted that sometimes a serious injury will occur. But this is not a reason to ban moms from drinking coffee around their children. That is simply not reasonable. As others here have said, accidnets and injuries occur in all kinds of everyday circumstances. It’s not logical or healthy to start banning normal things in the name of kids’ safety.

  68. At first I thought this was just a joke. Trying to point out how ridiculous our society has gotten. Then I realized it was not and the society we live in really is that ridiculous.

  69. My children would probably not have made it to their fifth birthdays if I couldn’t have coffee while they played. I would have either driven off a cliff or sold them on eBay if I had to try to be human without coffee after they kept me up half the night. Particularly the older one with his early asthma issues. That cough – like nails on a chalkboard. Shudder. Playgroups with liberal amounts of coffee and grownup conversation kept me sane.

    I would probably tell this government sponsored playgroup to go pound sand and start my own. In my house. With plenty of coffee.

  70. Is any one familiar with the Aga Saga Woman from the Catherine Tate Show?
    Here is a link, it’s got several Aga Saga bits, but please at least watch the first one.

  71. Banning coffee and tea because the kids could get burned if they opened the spill-proof cup is just silly. If they want to be safety conscious, then require that hot drinks be kept in insulated cups that are spill proof.

    Following the logic behind banning hot drinks, then we also need to ban ice and bananas. People could slip on the ice or banana peels. They should also ban glass jars/bottles for the kids food. What happens if they drop and break?

  72. I’m surprised they haven’t banned teeth, considering those probably cause the most damage statistically when tots play together.

  73. Next, it will be no playgroups meet outdoors. Can’t risk a sunburn.

  74. There are worse crimes than banning coffee. One of them is not drinking it. 🙂

  75. I suppose they’d consider Vodka and Play to be safer — no hot flasks — but I think coffee’s a better idea.

  76. I dunno, now that my kids are 10 and 11, I’m starting to lean toward the vodka…

  77. @Catspaw, gosh, was it that long ago you ran the playgroup? My time must be ancient!!! I always thought we drank the hot drinks in the kitchen to get away from the kids! My bad…..:-)

    @Lollipoplover – you mean playgroups actually meet outside where you live? How dreadfully irresponsible….! How do you prevent bears, snakes, spiders, alligators or lone men in raincoats from stealing your precious bundles of joy? O, and let’s not forget aliens….

  78. A friend gave me a caffeine lollypop, with the equivalent of three cups of coffee in one single pop. Howboutit?

    Of course, I had to keep it locked in the medicine box.

  79. I know at least one other parent has stated this already. I don’t mean to belabor the point, but it’s worth saying again. I think we need to have safe places for our children — but safe is a lifelong process, and this safety rule actually sounds dangerous to me.
    Removing risks removes the experiences that teach about evaluating risks. A bunch of kids running around is likely to tumble coffee over, someone might get burned. Unless the coffee is so hot it would melt a Styrofoam cup (which is an safety risk), the burn would hurt but cause no actual damage. But without that possibility of getting burned (or the memory of getting burned) there is no natural consequence to teach the kids to pay attention to where they run and play. This makes the next danger, when they are older and expected to “know better”, even more dangerous.

  80. LRH–Not only are those password changes annoying they make things less secure because you are forced to write them all down to remember. It is much more secure to have people use 1 password that isn’t actually their name or 12345 then it is to change them. Anyone who says change them is bad at IT.

  81. Seems to me the problem with the coffee here is also that we are relying on others to organize these groups. If it was parents gathering in someone’s home to have coffee and play it wouldn’t be regulated. We are living in larger and larger houses but insist on having all of our social events planned at third party sites. Then we complain when that third party imposes rules. Well maybe the solution is to make our playgroups private instead of public.

    On another note, Union Square playground in NYC would be closed if parents couldn’t have coffee. I don’t know one parent there without coffee on a weekend morning.

  82. I saw the unthinkable this morning. A mom who was going with the KG class on their field trip brought – man, I can hardly say it – a HUGE coffee. She brought it right into the classroom with all those poor innocent children. I heard her saying something to her son about how it was absolutely necessary that she drink the entire thing if she were to survive the day.

    That’s my kind of woman. (Provided there are bathrooms on the field trip!)

  83. Does this mean we should ban hot drinks at home, not allow children into coffee shops or restuarants. How are children going to gauge caution if every risk is taken away?

  84. “Seems to me the problem with the coffee here is also that we are relying on others to organize these groups.”

    This is definitely true. Because the play group itself is a creature of government, there will always be a governmental, legalistic approach to everything. It’s inescapable.

    Nonetheless, it’s still worth decrying because it is stupid regardless of how much it is to be expected.

  85. Brian, you have a point, but the real reason for many play groups is that parents are no longer allowed to let kids just go out and play.

  86. Lollipoplover, definitely doing it wrong. I should have thought of that.

  87. My son’s first word was “hot” because I almost always had a cup of coffee in my hand while we snuggled in the early mornings. This rule against coffee absurd.

    And while I understand the point in objection to others organizing gatherings for kids, I benefited greatly from these kinds of playgroups. As a new mother new in a new town, I attended a number of these gatherings at local churches and libraries. Not only did it get me out of my house on bad weather days, but it gave me a forum to meet other young moms and slowly develop friendships which could then morph into play times at personal homes. I see a real value in these.

  88. […] Outrage of the Day: Coffee Banned from Mother’s Group for “Safety …Apr 19, 2012 … Local coffee shop owners went to court in the Netherlands Wednesday, trying to block a government plan that would prevent foreign visitors … […]

  89. When I was a toddler, I was playing underneath the dining room table while my Dad was drinking his hot coffee. At some point, he was resting his mug on his leg, and I bumped his leg leading him to spill his hot coffee all over my face.

    We went to the hospital, and I got cleaned up and sent home. Sadly, my Mom had to come pick me up because my Dad was so worried about me that he started having heart palpitations.

    I remember my face feeling funny for a few days, but other than that, I was fine (and that was over 35 years ago).

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