Nanny State

EU Bans Free-Range Kids! Nanny of the Month (October 2011)


Turns out minding other people's business is a worldwide affliction, and in this very special edition of Nanny of the Month, we explore nannyism across the pond.

Fat taxes are all the rage in Europe. After the skinny Danes slapped a tax on foods high in saturated fats, other European pols—including British Prime Minister David Cameron—have considered following suit.

And in Australia's Northern Territory, they're bringing alcohol prohibition back—incrementally, that is—by barring problem drinkers from buying grog. What could possibly go wrong!

But in the first-ever Nanny of the Month Global Edition, top dishonors go to the European Union's control freaks who have cracked down on free-range kids, slapping regulations on everything from baby rattlers (which have brand-new noise restrictions) to blowing up balloons (not to be done by tots under age eight!).

Approximately 1.20 minutes.

"Nanny of the Month" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Opening animation by Meredith Bragg.

To watch past episodes, go here.

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NEXT: Nosy Neighbors

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  1. Mmmm, free range children are much tastier.

    As an aside, I hope everyone either ran amok for Halloween or let your children run amok while you dutifully gave out candy.

    1. I gave out my bath foam — see link featuring Darklady (Theresa Reed) and the Lows (including Corinne).

    2. Yep. I’m pleased to report that while taking my six year old son around the neighborhood, I saw every one of CPSC’s safety suggestions openly and widely flouted, by children and adults alike. Why, dozens of people even had exposed fires going in the driveway! Incredibly, no children spontaneously burst into flames.

      My kids got plenty of candy, and yes, they will be allowed to actually eat it all.

      1. Good for you!
        Unfortunately my children are too old for all that. I miss it. My youngest kept me company sitting out front telling the children “take a hand-full.” It rained the whole time so we only got 20 or so kids this year.

      2. While out with my kid, I visited a house that hands out beer to adults. It was awesome.

  2. In the late 1970s I saw a baby or very young child who was hospitalized with brain damage after having choked on a piece of burst balloon from a promotional baby doll that blew up a balloon. The doctors were talking about the parents suing the maker of the doll. I commented to my father, isn’t that silly, it could’ve been a piece from any balloon that a family might’ve had, and nobody would’ve thought that a particular danger around a baby. My father disagreed and thought that because the doll was was a promotional item, that might’ve made them particularly liable.

    1. The libertarian solution to pollution is to sue those who cause harm.

      Right up to the point that people actually talk about suing.

      Then suing is bad. Oh, it’s horrible!

      1. Libertarians are good at that.

      2. ‘Cause’ being the operative word.

        1. Did White Idiot post another rectangle full o’ stOOpid?

  3. There was an interesting discussion on Volokh the other day as to whether child obesity should be a factor in custody decisions.

    1. And my comment there was, why not, isn’t it as good as any other factor?

    2. So the parents can fight over which one is responsible for making the kid fat? Sounds wonderful.

    3. What I like best about that idea is that it couldn’t possibly cause emotional damage to a child.

      1. MNG, kids are used as pawns between bickering parents enough as it is. Let’s not throw more logs on that fire, m’kay?

  4. What do I care what foreigners do to each other? Keep the Nanny of the Month in house!

    Also, it’s November.

    1. Because not all readers are American I assume. Also because many Americans like to copy European government trends, it does show what the future for America holds.

      1. If you want to come to the American internet you have to assimilate to our statists. Don’t hang on to your own.

        And no one’s copying Australia.

  5. We had to destroy childhood to save the children.

  6. Everything not Mandatory is Prohibited.

  7. And in Australia’s Northern Territory, they’re bringing alcohol prohibition back?incrementally…

    Attempts to keep booze away from the aborigines while letting whites have access to it have have been going on forever.

    As hard as they try the missionaries can’t keep sly-grog shops from opening in the dry settlements and when smugglers can’t bring in the real stuff the market will turn to any number of homemade substitutes, many of which are pretty much lethal.

    About the only people who’ll benefit from this new regulation will be the bootleggers.

    1. About the only people who’ll benefit from this new regulation will be the bootleggers.

      Now you’re gettin it.

    2. Reminds me of this bit of recent news:

      Authorities Bust Massive Southwest Drug Smuggling Ring Trafficking $33 Million a Month

      “It’s a body blow but it doesn’t knock them out by any sense of the imagination,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau said. “This literally is just a fraction of what’s going on.”

      No shit, really? Maybe this whole war on drugs thing isn’t working out so well, huh? Will we ever learn?

      1. “Will we ever learn?”

        No. Next question.

  8. God I hate it when my neighbor’s kids make too much noise with their rattles. It’s WAY louder than crying.

    1. Kids with loud rattles grow up thinking a 2KW subwoofer is acceptable to run at full blast.

      Nipped in the bud.

    2. I hate the beagle that barks (wheezes? I call it asthma-dog) when it’s let out a 4:30 in the morning.

  9. It’s a little-known fact that Pete Townshend didn’t really lose most of his hearing from loud amplifiers; it was actually the result of unregulated rattlers he played with as a baby.

    1. Well, that and Keith Moon blowing up his drum set right next to him.

  10. “You might say that small children have been blowing up balloons for generations, but not anymore and they will be safer for it,” said an official.

    1. Yes, because if you write a law against something, that behavior will DEFINITELY stop.

      1. I recommend we all go skydiving over Europe…and take about 50 lbs of balloons each when we jump. Now *that’s* civil disobedience! (Even if we’re not European.)

  11. Everytime I hear Cameron speak, I’m assured that in an alternative reality he joined the priesthood instead of going into politics, and he also cost his church a lot of money in lawsuits.

    1. It did occur to me that if a child is found blowing up a balloon without an adult nearby, who is arrested?
      Legally mandated warning labels are still a nanny state-level restriction though. Just think about the fact that months or years were spent on lobbying and moral puffery about the dangers of children’s balloons. It’s considered a top priority to many people. THAT is bullshit.

  12. I don’t give a shit about Europe and Australasia, and I won’t until my own country’s fixed. Even so, what a fucking joke.

    1. I’ve pretty written off Europe at this point. The only reason I’d still call them Western is because of shared history, but demographically and culturally they are on a slow spiral. At least there is some hope for saving America.

      1. As someone who’s rabidly patriotic, I sincerely, truly, and desperately hope you’re right. Romney and Perry dropping out of the presidential race would be a good place to start.

  13. I hope European paternalists die of brain death.

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