Put Down that Calculus Book & Come to the Bathroom with Mommy

Oh, Readers: Here’s one from Glasgow, Scotland: By law, any time anyone under the age of 16 is in a “licensed premise” — i.e., a pub, or a restaurant that serves liquor, it seems — he cannot be out of his parents’ sight. Even in the loo. Even if it’s a young man with his “mum,” or a lass with her dad.

As nutters as that sounds — don’t the Scots deal with enough under-the-kilt jokes already? — the bathroom angle isn’t even the most disturbing part of this story. No, I’m appalled by the way this local law treats 15-year-olds the same as toddlers simply because there are no legal provisions for distinguishing them.

So make some!

And yet, here in America, we have the same problem on a different front: The consumer protection laws passed after the lead-in-toys-from-China scandal insist that every item sold to children under 12 be tested for trace amounts of lead, in case the child puts it in his mouth.

Now, I can understand testing a doll or even a baby shoe. Kids’ll gum them. But my 11-year-old is not going to chew the buttons on his shirt. Nonetheless, those buttons have to be sent for testing same as a pacifier, as if they pose the exact same threat.

There is a huge difference between babies, school children and older kids. Lumping them together makes babies of them all. Come to think of it, it makes babies of us adults, too: too helpless to do anything when faced with legal overkill but roll over.  — Lenore