Stupidity…when parents are their own worst enemy

Can a company sue a parent for being stupid and improperly using their products? Not likely…and that is a shame.

Not long ago I wrote about a group of parents who tried to sue MySpace because their kids became involved in one way or another with a sex predator. My favorite quote in that story from MySpace amounted to “if the child had been contacted by the predator by phone, would you be suing the phone company?”

Then, this past weekend, one of my wife’s girlfriends forwarded an article from CNN about Bumbo recalling a million of their seats due to infants falling out and sustaining head injuries. After reading through the article I was disgusted to figure out that Bumbo was voluntarily recalling all of these seats because of user error. Ignorant parents were placing their kids in a Bumbo that was up on a counter or table-top (and then – I can only guess – leaving them unattended). To this I say, shame on the stupid parents and not shame on the product. Having purchased one and having used it like crazy, it is still one of my favorite products! I had my daughter in it all the time, and I too placed it on elevated surfaces (though I know for a fact that it is written on the box that you should not do this). The difference is that I was right next to her and/or watching over her every second she was in the Bumbo, and the moment it looked as though she was unstable or might fall over or out of the seat, I either took her out of it, or placed it back down on the floor.

If she HAD fallen out and gotten hurt, then double dumb-ass on me for not paying closer attention. In no way shape or form should Bumbo be held accountable for my ignorance. And yet here they are voluntarily recalling a million seats until they can more clearly mark the packaging and product itself with clear and explicit warnings about placing the Bumbo on elevated surfaces.

And do you know what? It won’t matter, because some dumbass is going to do it anyway, their kid is going to get hurt, and they’re going to sue Bumbo for their own ignorance, and they’ll probably win…

When oh when are people going to learn (probably never) that these types of products are not a substitute for actual parenting??? <link>

Raising the next Warren Buffett…

Taken from the Motley Fool website:

Teach Your Kids to Save

By Selena Maranjian March 16, 2007

We all want the best for our children — and for our nieces, and nephews, and grandchildren, and little Dennis, that tow-headed kid who lives across the street. But we don’t always transform those good intentions into action.

We may hope that our youngsters grow up financially savvy, avoiding the temptations of credit card debt or excessive, thoughtless spending. But do we talk with them frequently about how to manage money prudently? Do we discuss fiscal blunders we’ve made, hoping they’ll learn from our mistakes? Not often enough.

Want to take action? I’ve got good news: There’s plenty of help available, for you and for them. Schools are increasingly offering financial lessons; if your kids’ schools don’t, consider agitating for more practical money lessons during their school day.

Young kids
I recently ran across a useful introduction to fiscal management for the preschoolers and elementary students: Sam Renick’s books It’s A Habit, Sammy Rabbit! and Will Sammy Ride the World’s First Space Coaster? (Learn more about these and related offerings at Sam’s website.) The first book shows how Sammy Rabbit, by saving and accumulating carrots, saves the day when his family is hungry. The second is more explicitly about money, as Sammy has to save enough to go on a field trip with his class. My five-year-old test audience definitely enjoyed both books.

Even more books out there tackle dollars and cents from a kid’s point of view. Judith Viorst offers Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, showing how Alexander spends a dollar while his siblings grow their own allowances. And David Schwartz has penned the popular How Much Is a Million? and If You Made a Million, which are also very good.

All kids
All children can benefit from some actual investing, at almost any age. Get them involved by allocating a few shares of some stocks you own to them, and following the companies’ fortunes together. This will work best with companies that teens know and like, such as Disney (NYSE: DIS), McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), and cereal-maker General Mills (NYSE: GIS). As the kids get older, you can help them choose some stocks to buy with their own money, and you might eventually even open a joint custodial brokerage account.

If the kids you care most about are already teenagers, it’s not too late to get them up to speed. You can help teens get a financial head start in life by pointing them to our book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of. Our Teens and Their Money site is also chock-full of information and advice on saving, earning, spending, and investing money, from both Fool staffers and fellow teenagers. Finally, our Teens and Their Money discussion board lets teens talk with their peers (and some adults) about financial matters.

We even have savings advice for you, courtesy of our Savings Center. It can help you understand how much you need in your emergency fund, and how to invest that money, among other things.

Learn more
These articles may also be of interest to you:

Why this matters
Not convinced that money is a critical topic to teach your children? Read about the Fool who recently calculated that he’d paid nearly $200,000 in interest in battling back his credit card debt. Don’t let this happen to young people you care about. By helping them avoid unwise spending habits, you can spare them years of stress and frustration.

Here’s to the healthy and wealthy young adults of tomorrow!

Longtime contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of McDonald’s and enjoys General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal most mornings for breakfast. Disney is a Stock Advisor pick. For more about Selena, view her bio and her profile. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools<link>