Dunno where we think we are going with Safety New Zealand Week, but Alf would not rule out demands from some loopy do-gooders for a ban on living in houses.
A ban on cushions would be a bit less extreme, or – even less intrusive – a ban on playing with cushions.
His expectations of demands for the Government to do something follow the Dom Post’s making a silly fuss about an accident suffered by a toddler four months ago.
The three-year-old and his father were throwing cushions at each when the toddler who was standing on the couch, slipped and fell.
Gravity inevitably played a villainous part in what happened next.
The child thumped his head on the corner of the coffee table on the way down and was left with a big gash above one eye.
Alf supposes that someone somewhere saw merit in regaling us with this account of a typical household accident.
The Dom-Post didn’t tell him who it was
But Alf established that Safety NZ Week kicks off today.
Yep, it’s an ACC stunt, a week of events and activities that will encourage people to find out how they can make their homes a safer place.
We will show simple things you can do to reduce the risk of being injured in your own home.
An attempt has been made at the Dom Post to inject an element of drama into the story of what happens when you throw cushions at toddlers.
“I was in real flap,” his mother, Sarah, said. “He was pretty hysterical. There was a lot of blood.”
They rushed James to a doctor and the wound was stitched up. A small scar near his eye is left as a reminder of the fall.
Ms Green said her son was lucky, considering the damage that could have been done if he had hit his eye or temple. “It did give us a real fright.”
That last paragraph spices things up a tad – a bit of conjecture about what might have happened.
Let’s work on that: the floorboards might have been chewed up badly by borer, and the lad could have crashed through them into the cellar below where he might have landed on his dad’s wine collection, smashing a few bottles, seriously lacerating his limbs and severing an artery (never mind the staining of his clothes with red wine and oodles of blood).
The point of the story of the infant’s accident apparently is that it is but one of hundreds of accidents suffered by Kiwis in their homes each year.
Last year more than 650,000 New Zealanders were injured at home – one every 48 seconds.
Safety New Zealand week, which starts today, encourages people to find out how they can make their homes safer.
Ms Green said she thought that the family’s home was safe for their children James and Ciara, but “then you have a silly accident like this and it makes you a bit more aware”.
As a result of James’ accident, the Greens have moved their coffee table away from the couch.
A bit more critically, the lad’s mum acknowledges it is impossible to completely safeguard the home.
But she says people need to be aware of potential dangers, such as fireplaces and stairs, and of what measures can be taken to protect them and their families.
Alf credits most people with having the wits to recognise potential dangers without the need for a special week to highlight them.
The few who don’t recognise them probably don’t (and/or can’t) read newspapers and probably should be locked up lunatic asylums for their own safety.
Alf is sure the parents of the toddler mentioned here are well-meaning folk, keen to do their public duty by telling the Dom Post about their son’s accident.
He heaps his scorn not on them but on the bloody bureucrats at the ACC who are being kept in jobs of dubious worth by fabricating events like Safety New Zealand Week to alert people to the bleeding obvious.
Many more such stories can be found at the Safety Begins at Home website.
There’s an account of the accident suffered by a woman when – while rushing out of the house – she tripped over her son’s skateboard left in the hallway.
Notice something interesting?
Yep. Gravity was involved.
Then there’s the story of the 12-year-old Aucklander who was climbing a tree in his backyard when a rotten branch snapped and – here comes gravity again – he fell head first on to the ground below.
Or the story of a 61-year-old woman who – while opening the internal door to walk from her house to her garage – tripped down the one high step on to the garage floor below.
Bugger me, said Alf. Gravity has popped up in this one, too.
Alf expects some fanatics to press for bans on skateboards, trees and doors to stop such things happening again.
He is more inclined to demand amendments to Newton’s law of gravity. He will be hard at work today preparing a private member’s bill to do just that.
He is sure a ban on gravity will be a vote-winner.