Child-proof caps make plastic parents

Fewer child-proof caps.

Child-proof caps – the little lids of frustration sealing harmful chemicals and drugs from small, inquisitive hands and mouths.

I hate them – the caps I mean. The world needs less of these caps, lids and stress-inducing seals.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wrestled with a bottle of drain de-clogger, cleanser or bleach because of the child-proof cap. These caps must have been created by ninjas, because you have to exert the right amount of force. However, too much force and the cap springs open and slops caustic chemicals on bare skin.

I finally got wise awhile back and carefully sawed away the outer child-proof cap covering the inner lid for a bleach jug. The inner caps are universal. So now when I get more bleach, I toss the child-proof cap and use the regular one. My knuckles thank me.

With better parenting, there would be no child-proof caps.

Somewhere along the way, our society, government or common culture decided to “help” adults with the parenting burden as if they knew the job or could do it better from a bureaucratic format than a personal one.

Effective parents know if a child is quiet for more than 20 minutes, it’s best to check because they are probably up to no good. Good advice. Constant vigilance by good parents or their “common sense designees” (babysitters, teachers, coaches, older siblings) can keep Junior from getting into mischief until the parents are reasonably reassured he can handle a little unsupervised freedom.

In legal terms, an orphan is a “ward of the state.” Hence a parent-less child has nobody to oversee their development – no warden – so the state does the job. Therefore, parents are the natural wardens of children. Parents rehabilitate children out of their prisons of ignorance and move them from their natural, animalistic selves until they can interact with society positively and understand the awesome responsibilities and joys of freedom.

Parents as wardens. There’s a concept I can understand. I know at times my parents seemed like wardens. (“Where are you going? When are you getting back? Who are you going with? What are ya’ll doing?”) Sounds like a prison interrogation. Or a good parent.

Since the government not only wants the role of Big Brother but now Big Daddy too, we have child-proof caps and a host of other well-meaning “safety” apparatus like: rear passenger windows that roll down only halfway, warning labels, tamper-proof cigarette lighters, warning labels, electrical outlet covers, warning labels, cabinet latches, warning labels, furniture bumpers, warning labels and anti-scald water monitors.

And warning labels.

Some warning labels don’t border on stupid, they are the capital of that country. My favorite is the warning label on a Halloween superhero costume. It cautions that the costume does not really impart supernatural powers and the wearer should not attempt personal flight in said get-up. (Oh come on, ye of little faith! Jump! Everyone knows Stuporman can fly!)

The idea behind child-proof caps is so moronic in its hope and scope of purpose that the government must be behind it. Companies are probably obeying an OSHA mandate on child-proof caps. This is government-grade stupidity at its best. And it is about as effective as the government – overall – in working. Government thinks it is effective when the purpose feels good. Actual results are a side effect of said actions.

Besides, if a child has the digital dexterity to operate a video game controller and get to Level 42 of E-mageddon, then will a child-proof cap stop them? The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence marked by the “No Trespassing” signs.

Face it, child-proof containers are not really effective anti-tamper barriers for our juvenile consumers. Instead, a child-proof cap is a mark of notoriety – of something secret, potent, pleasurable, dangerous or adult. In the packaging world, it is the equivalent of whispering in low, conspiratorial tones or writing in italics.

Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone, especially parents, if all the good stuff was sealed in child-proof caps instead of the other way around? Then we would have Hershey’s chocolate, powdered doughnuts, caffeine-coated Sugar Bricks all in containers requiring Rubik cube-like maneuvers to unlock.

Now imagine if every bottle of Mountain Dew had a child-proof cap on it. This would reduce childhood (and adult) obesity measurably.

It makes it easier for parents too. Then they could just tell their children, “Kids, if it is easy to open, it’s bad for you. Don’t eat it.”

(This would also be good training for the realities of life anyway. All the good stuff is hard to obtain anyhow.)

To further combat obesity, we could use reverse psychology here. Simply package Brussels sprouts and broccoli in child-proof containers and we would never have to cajole children to eat it. Make it forbidden and our little Adams and Eves will reach for the apple every time.

I have a dream. In it a cherubic child walks to me. The little angel hands me a bottle of candy. It is in a child-proof container. In a plaintively polite voice, the munchkin asks me to open it.

I open the container effortlessly; pat the shrimp-sized seraphim on the head and send him on his sugar-coated way.

Yeah – when this happens, I’ll know I’m behind the Pearly Gates for sure. I probably got there after suffering a massive stress-induced heart attack because I couldn’t get my arthritis medicine open.

Either that or St. Peter meets me before the Gates and says:

“If you can open this bottle….”


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