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Child abuse circa 2024: Allowing kids to drink from garden hose, bathe with a rubber ducky
rubber ducks

I am a dead man walking.

Before my parents bought a used 1965 Chevy Impala station wagon, we had a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air station wagon.

There were no seat belts in the 1957 Chevy. We were able to ride in the back end and take a nap if we wished. As a young kid, I’d ride around town with Mom on errands standing on the front seat. If she came to a stop sign or had to brake suddenly, she’d move her right arm to stop me from lurching forward.

On more than one occasion, mom’s reactions weren’t quick enough, and my head hit the dashboard. That probably explains a lot of things.

I learned to ride a bicycle without helmet, knee pads or padded gloves.

I learned the hard way to respect what horsing around on a bicycle could do given before I turned 7 that I probably went through a case of Band-Aids, a pint of Bactine, and a gallon or so of hydrogen peroxide.

I also drank perhaps a dozen or so times a day from a garden hose in the summer back when they used hard core chemicals to manufacture hoses.

Based on research today, I never should have made it alive out of puberty.

Worse yet, my mother would have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for felony child abuse.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in my share of crashes as an adult and can attest to the effectiveness of lap and seat belts.

I’m alive today — or at least not permanently maimed — thanks to lightweight bicycle helmets that did their job including one in a 45 mph downhill crash.

What brought up the jaunt down memory lane to the days when it wasn’t child neglect to have a first grader walk 2.5 miles to and then from school while crossing what is now known as an arterial street is research by Swiss and American scientists using government funding.

Thanks to their research, we now know the docile looking bath tub play toy — the rubber duck — makes the Chucky Doll a pacifist in comparison.

Scientists found that in 80 percent of the rubber ducks they squeezed — I’m not making this up as grown men apparently can be paid six figures for what you did for 15 minutes while taking a bath Sunday evening before the “Wonderful World of Disney” came on at 8 o’clock — out came “potential pathogenic bacteria.”

In short, a whole lot of substances that a rubber ducky absorbs while in the tub provides nutrients to foster the growth of bacteria that can lead to stomach, eye and ear infections.

Little did you know that lovable Sesame Street character known as Ernie who sang “Rubber Ducky” was no better than a drug pusher trying to hook your kid on a diversion that could make them sick or even kill them.

PBS — also known as the Public Broadcaster of Sickness — had best take PG&E’s lead and start stockpiling money now for all of the litigation that will be filed by lawyers looking for a big pay day so they can book passage for their family on Elon Musk’s first trip to Mars.

While knowledge is power and fear can be a good thing as it stops us from doing stupid things that can kill us, it can be taken a bit too far.

Nature has programmed living organisms to kill each other.

It’s just the way it is.

It’s also natural for species to have self-survival instincts. Homo sapiens, however, take it to the next level.

People die. And if you think about it I’m not too sure if you’re 70 years old today that you want to be around when the great-grandchildren of Donald Trump and Joe Biden are old enough to square off against each other for the presidency in a generation political version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I have no qualms about extending lifespans. 

The quality of that life, of course, should enter into the equation.

That has more to do with how we take care of our body and don’t abuse it as opposed to what nature put in place to make sure we eventually die.

The problem I have is the fallacy of wrapping kids in packing foam and trying to make everything they touch as sterile as possible short of turning your home into a version of clean rooms employed by National Semiconductor to manufacture silicon chips will make them healthy.

Exposure to germs is critical to building and strengthening our immune systems.

It’s why vaccines are made from either dead or live viruses of the disease that you are being inoculated against.

Falls and scraps are part of the physical growing process.

But more importantly it toughens one emotionally, gives you the skills and moxie needed to take on life, and builds confidence.

We raise kids so that they never bruise their knees and hearts growing up

We strive to make sure they aren’t exposed to the world they have to survive in to thrive — whether it is germs on a rubber ducky, the concept of delayed gratification, or the fact you can’t really learn how to succeed or win without failing or losing

Then, after all that, we’re surprised we get weak adults — emotionally or physically.

Our immune systems need to be strong.

Our bodies need to be strong.

Our hearts in terms of love and compassion need to be strong.

And our will and perseverance need to be strong.

If we must protect our kids from a rubber ducky or else risk the wrath of Children’s Protective Services, then there is no hope for the human race.

 This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at