Tag Archive: warning


WARNING?

Let’s be clear: This is not how you make a warning label when you want it to be followed; this is how you make a warning label when you’re trying to avoid a lawsuit without regard to the well being of your users (or maybe if a government agency is requiring it).

There is a warning label similar to this on my son’s Graco combination changing table/playpen. I was looking for the safe load weight (to ensure that the changing table would not give out below him), and, much to my dismay, this information was not provided on the warning label.

What was present on this warning label, however, was a warning to parents to not leave their kid in the play pen with the changing table attached or else the child could strangle themselves. Now, let’s examine the steps needed for a child to strangle themselves in this manner…The child would have to:

  1. Stand in the playpen
  2. Reach outside of the playpen, and depress the two locking pins on the changing table supports (which is difficult for me to do)
  3. Lift the posts of the changing table portion out of the holes in the playpen
  4. Place their head over the edge of the playpen
  5. Replace the changing table portion poles into the corresponding holes in the playpen

Compare that to the steps needed to exceed the weight limit:

  1. Place a kid who is too heavy onto the changing table

When creating warnings, companies need to figure out what questions the customers have and what actions the customers are likely to perform incorrectly (which cannot be corrected with design).

Safety is too important to leave to poorly formatted warning labels.

…you may as well not have said anything at all.

My cup (in the picture on the left) warned me to “Avoid improper microwave use”.

Honestly, this warning is so general that it is about 99% useless.

Nevertheless, since reading this warning I have tried to cut down on my improper microwave use:

I no longer use my microwave as:

  • a fish/reptile tank
  • a replacement for when my dryer breaks
  • an impromptu helmet
  • a garage for my old metal hot wheel cars
  • a turn style for my old metal toy trains
  • etc.

I strongly encourage you to do the same.

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.