Is there any real danger?
April 5, 2005 9:13 PM   Subscribe

I've got a nine month old baby. I bought one of those car rugs at Home Depot and got it home only to happen to read one of the tags on it that says "Not suitable for children under 36 months". My question is, what danger does this rug pose to my 9 month old that it no longer poses to a 36 month old child?
posted by fenriq to Home & Garden (15 answers total)

What, exactly, is a car rug? How thick is the nap? I'm buffaloed, frankly. I can see how a child too small to get away from a rug with a noxious odor, a deep nap (CO2 retention), or a weave that might cause skin irritation could be an issue.

Otherwise, it sounds like legalese taken to an extreme.
posted by docpops at 9:18 PM on April 5, 2005

Is your spawn able to crawl yet?
posted by docpops at 9:19 PM on April 5, 2005

Does it have a rubber backing? Maybe there is a minute chance they could roll up in it and suffocate.
posted by smackfu at 9:29 PM on April 5, 2005

My first thought on seeing this was skin irritation, like docpops said. Those picnic-type wool rugs can be itchy even for an adult.
posted by tracicle at 9:58 PM on April 5, 2005

Usually, when things are listed as being not suitable for children under 3 it is because they have small parts that have been deemd to be a chocking hazard. I can't imagine what that might be on a car rug but that's what I suspect it is.
posted by aaronh at 10:20 PM on April 5, 2005

Possibly lead in the plastic? (At 36 months, don't anklebiters stop incessently chewing on things?)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on April 5, 2005

Toxic plastic off-gassing.

This represents some threat to all of us, but drawing a strict cutoff at age 3 is kind of a CYA maneuver. It probably won't kill anyone, but it's bad for everyone. To be safe (without scaring off customers) they say "keep away from babies under 3."

It's all marketing. It's completely real. It's a paradox. It's totally normal.
posted by scarabic at 10:39 PM on April 5, 2005

Sorry, a car rug is a rug with a town or other scene with roads for kids to drive their little toy cars on. No rubber backing and it says its 100% nylon.

scarabic, that's pretty much what I was figuring. Same thing for new car smell, I'd guess.
posted by fenriq at 11:58 PM on April 5, 2005

Here's my take on it: the small Matchbox/Hot Wheels die-cast cars are not suitable for kids under three, and they figure some idiot will give these small cars to their infant because of the rug, then the rug manufacturer gets sued when the kid chokes. I think it's more to do with what they envision the rug will be used for than with anything in the rug itself. (Did that make sense?)
posted by Doohickie at 5:12 AM on April 6, 2005

What Dookickie said makes a lot of sense. Because the Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars really are a possible choking hazzard for a munchkin as small as yours. There are, however, other little plastic cars and such that are safer for the tiny ones.

I suspect the 3 yr old cutoff its probably set arobitrarily high, though. As a covering-their-ass protection. My kid stopped putting stuff in her mouth around 18 months. And since I don't leave her unattended with them, she's got those kind of cars now (at two and a bit). So I think it depends how paranoid/uptight/saftey-consious a parent you and your SO are.

Just know that if some terrible tragedy befalls your kid (I'd be surprised, but nothing's impossible) that warning label means you used it against the directions and can't sue. Which is really the only reason they put the warning there anyway.
posted by raedyn at 6:13 AM on April 6, 2005

I'm on my second one of those rugs with my kid, and while it's probably a combination of "warning them against giving infants Matchbox cars" and "there's the slightest chance they might not be able to lift their heads, and might suffocate," the warning may be because the little carpet nubs that make up the picture? After a while, some of those can work loose and would be a choking hazard. If you're really determined (say, you're 2 and a half and you found a shrimp fork somewhere, when mommy doesn't even have shrimp forks...) you can forcibly pull the little loops out, and it doesn't take a lot of effort. Also, the seam holding down the edging may eventually come loose or be pulled free, and that's basically a six foot length of rope- also not an ideal toy for the wee ones.

Barring shrimp fork damage, these rugs are incredibly sturdy. Our first one lasted 7 years; I have no doubt our second one will last that long as well. But watch out for that edging, for serious. If it comes loose, just rip the whole thing off- it's only for aesthetics, the rug itself will be fine.
posted by headspace at 6:57 AM on April 6, 2005

Actually it think it has to do with the testing required on objects that are for use by children. It's not that the rug is unsafe for children under 36 months rather the manufacture never paid for the extensive safety workup required before they were allowed to say that it is safe. I think the 36 months is a cut off in safty testing where less is required to classify a product as safe. Its usually the cheaper products that have tiny margins where you find them skipping the tests and hoping that parents wont notice or care about the age range.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 7:10 AM on April 6, 2005

It does sound like overkill warning-wise. Perhaps they envision the child doing the chew and slobber and consider that inhalation of fibres is a potential happenstance?
(But if you gave them a shrimp fork they might forget about eating the rug)...bad man bad man
posted by peacay at 7:18 AM on April 6, 2005

Headspace and others, thanks for putting my low power fears to ease. I'll keep the shrimp forks in the gun safe with the other assorted point things that my little guy would love to bash into his face.
posted by fenriq at 9:45 AM on April 6, 2005

Don't put your baby on the carpet. The carpet may have been treated with industrial chemicals designed to help it shed dirt. Some of these chemicals, such as Teflon, have been shown to be dangerous for creatures with easily damaged respiratory systems (e.g., birds, small pets...and small children).

This writeup has an abundance of different colored text, but it's a decent summary of the current facts of the ground with respect to the Teflon class of cleaning chemicals and its possible dangers.
posted by felix at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2005

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