Friday, March 15, 2013

Good 'Ol Fashioned Birthdays Parties and Potential HARMFUL Risks You May Not Have Thought About

As an event planner by profession and fellow mom, of course my head is always spinning with new event ideas and ways for the kids to have a fun time.  Recently I had to plan to party which would have many children ages 0-6 years.  I must have been stuck in some type of time warp the last few years, because what apparently the things we all grew up with at birthday parties as children (and still likely do in our homes and experience when we go to other birthday parties) are now not considered "safe".  In fact, they are FORBIDDDEN in many places.  

I am sharing this information with all you fellow parents and "party planners" out there in case you, like me, had no idea.  And please don't feel bad about it!  Because I totally beat myself up (and likely still am, hence this blog rant post) because I felt like "I should have known better" or that I was a "bad mother" or "bad event planner" because of it.  The fact of the matter is that information changes all the time and sometimes we don't even realize such things until we become a parent and experience it hands on to learn about it.  Of course we all want the best for our children and when caring for other children we especially want to ensure their safety as well.  So although you (like me) may find some of these things a little "extreme"; after thinking about it some more you may see that they do in fact make sense.  Just be aware of these recommendations and decide what to do in your own home for your own parties and with your own children - and don't be surprised like I was if a 3rd party place you chose to host a party at will absolutely just not allow certain things in their facility.

Allow me to elaborate on just some the dangers: 

1.     Balloons.  Apparently now HUGELY forbidden. I had some that I was going to blow up for decoration at a party but apparently they are a huge choking hazard for children (both un-inflated and inflated).  I must have been naive to think that birthday parties generally have balloons?   The last dozen of parties I've been to with my son recently have had balloons?  I never thought twice about it.   But yes, it's true (see links below to Canadian Red Cross).   Balloons are totally a thing of parties past. 

2.     Most Candy & Chocolate.  It's not challenging enough (but at least it's very common knowledge now) that we need to be extremely careful when it comes to Nut Free treats.  This is generally an accepted principal across the board now and "common knowledge".  However in going through my Piñata recently almost 100% of what was in there proposed some type of danger per the resource links provided.  Whether it be a dangerous due to a "stick" (i.e. lolly pops), too hard of candy, too chewy of candy, the shape, the size, etc. -- the fact is that most candy you can get today is just NOT RECOMMENDED.  So scrap the piñata all together I suppose?

3.     Popcorn.  Yup!  They serve it as part of the kids meals at movie theatre and will sell it to you at any children's show (I just bought some for my son at Disney On Ice), but also extremely not advisable. With its sharp edges and kernel flakes, popcorn is one of those foods that can even get caught in an adult's throat, causing gagging and choking.

Thankfully we could sing happy birthday and have a candle for me to blow for the event I had planned.  (I suppose it wasn't unreasonable for me to ask if cutting a cake with a knife or having an "open flame" was an issue after my other new findings?   (--> insert sarcasm here ;) ........ Good thing this was allowed *phew* cause my birthday party plans would have turned into just another day of chaos but with 30 unoccupied kids to entertain and equally frazzled moms.

Thank You,

Connie Berenguer
Founder / Director
Newmarket Goober Gang Play Group

See the following resources for further information: