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Good News, Bad News, No News

Two-Buck Chuck, Child-Proofing Discipline

Bill Radke

Our non-experts tackle the weighty issues of this weekend: political consultant Tara Setmayer; writer Dana Gould, whose credits include the "Simpsons"; and author and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman.


1. Sen. Hillary Clinton is surrounded by her supporters -- and just outside that circle, there's another, larger ring of people telling her to quit the campaign. Is her perseverance good news, bad news or no news?

2. A new book claims that American wine drinkers can't tell a cheap bottle from a pricey one. The author conducted taste tests in which, for example, the famed Charles Shaw "Two-Buck Chuck" out-tested a $55 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet. Does this sound like good news, bad news or no news?

3. A Washington Post columnist reminded readers with small kids to child-proof their houses. Lots of readers wrote back to say: "What happened to discipline? When we were kids, we didn't go into the places we were told not to go." Child-proofing through discipline -- good news, bad news or no news?

More stories from our Good News, Bad News, No News series

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    By Barbara Comstock-King

    From Lebanon, CT, 05/17/2008

    My comment also pertains to the child-proofing debate that occurred on your May 10th broadcast. I was soundly in agreement with Dana Gould and was annoyed by the elitist-sounding argument from your other two distinguished panelists. They either do not have or do not remember children (or childhood, for that matter).

    The only two scenarios that were discussed were either locking EVERY cabinet and door in one’s home or just ONE cabinet (the one with the dreaded Drano). There is, as with everything in life, middle ground. And every child needs a different amount of both protection and discipline. While I agree that many parents do overindulge their children, keeping hazardous items out of inquiring fingers’ reach is not spoiling kids. It is part of parenting them.

    By Vince Shay

    From Omaha, NE, 05/12/2008

    I know the GN,BN, NN program is just something light and fun...but I felt compelled to comment on an issue you covered that I thought you did a bit of a disservice to...namely, the issue of child-proofing and parental responsibility for keeping kids safe.

    I hope your panelists REMEMBER being a kid. I did stuff that was so irresponsibly unsafe when I was 'younger'. I am 58 now and the parent of two adult children. You THINK differently as an adult than you do as a kid. So...what is my point? You can train kids...but you also have to keep them safe. How many kids who have drowned in pools were warned to 'stay out of the deep end'? How many kids who were killed on bikes were warned to 'be careful around traffic'? So...if you have dangerous crap in your house...and who doesnt?...you need to KEEP IT AWAY from kids (up high, behind locks, etc) as well as cautioning them to be careful when they DO encounter the dangerous object, because, sooner or later they WILL encounter lighter fluid, guns, knives, Draino, matches, etc...etc. and know what behavior is appropriate.

    NOW....if parents have locks on EVERYTHING in the house...they either have too much dangerous crap in the house...OR...they dont want the kids dragging EVERYTHING out of storage. We avoided childproof cupboards until the fiftieth occurence of picking up every pot and pan we owned...and wiping up sugar and flour from our kitchen floor.

    Eventually you work out a system for kids to share the living space of a house...since...after all it is THEIR house too...and keeping them safe...and out of your stuff.

    Thanks for letting me have my little hissy-fit on this.

    Vince Shay

    By Deborah Kees-Folts

    From Hershey, PA, 05/10/2008

    I just heard the "Good news, bad news, no news" commentary on the reaction to the Washington Post column on childproofing (unfortunately, I wasn't able to access the column or the responses in the Post.)
    As a pediatrician and parent, I can't think of too many things against which a protest is more misguided. I realize that this was commentary and not presented as a parenting recommendation, but your commentators need to think a little more about this question and get a better grip on reality.
    "Childproofing" is not referring to keeping your child on a leash, nor does anyone suggest that childproofing your house is the best way to stop a 15 year old from experimenting with grandma's anti-anxiety medications. Parents should try to "childproof" their house to prevent unavoidably, developmentally appropriately impulsive toddlers and preschoolers from snacking on the medications left by the plate on the table because they look like candy, swallowing bleach or a cleaning solution easily accessable under the sink, or exploring open electrical outlets. Childproofing recommendations for houses with toddlers include keeping all medications in childproof bottles, out of reach (and preferably in locked cabinets)(because yes, toddlers do climb), storing solvents, bleaches, cleaning solutions and other potential poisons out of reach of children, and not storing them in potentially misleading containers (like milk jugs), and using protectors on electrical outlets. "Discipline" will not reverse the consequences when a young child becomes comatose and stops breathing due to a medication ingestion, develops permanent esophageal damage from swallowing a caustic liquid, or dies from any of these potentially preventable disasters. Childproofing is common sense - but that doesn't mean that common sense measures shouldn't be encouraged and publicized.
    Kudos to your commentator who recognized that even the most vigilant of parents can't prevent every disaster, and shame on the others who so lightly and callously discarded the concept of such a simple but important measure to help safeguard the health of children.

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