In the course of preparing a meal, I found myself needing my husband’s help in opening a bottle, a jar and a plastic container. He in turn required a box cutter, a pair of scissors and a jar-opening utensil. Neither of us has palsy, severe arthritis or any other disabling condition - we are simply seniors who are being overly protected against a container of pineapple chunks, some sake and a small jar of relish. Undoubtedly many readers will have experienced similar frustration with common food products that are treated with greater prevention tactics than most opioids This got me to thinking about the tragedy of 12 people dying in a Bronx building fire and four more in critical condition - all because a three year old child was fiddling with the knobs on the kitchen stove
Why in the 21rst century are knobs still located within easy reach of a toddler instead of recessed on the top of the stove? And if they are on top on newer appliances, why aren’t landlords forced to upgrade as part of eligibility for homeowner’s insurance? Asbestos removal became mandatory, so did window guards - how did the easy access of starting a fire escape attention? If you consider how much effort has gone into designing and installing child-proof caps for medication, better-grip small kitchen tools for seniors, new and improved everything to stimulate continued conspicuous consumption, why wouldn’t the obvious danger of a kitchen fire be one of the first safety concerns our regulators have? I know there is a way to lock stove knobs but that is left to the discretion of the homeowner or renter and it shouldn’t be, anymore than installing smoke alarms should be suggested instead of enforced by law. We must wear seat belts; we must vaccinate our children for school attendance - why is anything relating to fire left to individual choice? Between the tragedies of recent fires out west and those of several houses and buildings in our tri-state area, we have seen how an act of nature or one person’s carelessness or vindictiveness can spiral out of control ,killing and maiming too many people, destroying property and communities.
And while government looks into the need for implementing these vital changes, I would ask food packagers to give us a break and allow us to access our food without the ready availability of household tools and weapons. One more request - if a box of cereal is taller than a human child, it should contain enough product to feed same child for at least a week or two . That should definitely be a law!
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