No more garbage truck bears in London

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Weird But True

It's not just a British thing -- I've seen a similar thing here in the states. I'm speaking of the practice of strapping a stuffed animal to the front of a garbage or tow truck. While I've seen it here, it's certainly not universal. In North London, however, it's apparently very common. Common enough that the local garbage collection company, Haringey Enterprise, has decided to ban the practice.

In addition to being a bit silly (and not in a good, Monty Python kind of way), company executives have decided that the tied up teddies pose a safety hazard to the local children. It seems that children are prone to running out in front of massive garbage trucks and trying to rescue the critters. "Quite why adults would wish to decorate their vehicles this way is frankly beyond me," wrote Doug Taylor, Haringey general manager in an internal memo. "These items could attract children who may run into the road and suffer injury. On the grounds of health and safety and presenting a professional image of our company, I want all such decorations disposed of with immediate effect."

The binmen, as they're called over there, aren't going to give up their teddies without a fight, however. Union organizer Justin Bowden said the ban is "completely unjustified" and called it "absolutely crackers", adding that "Collecting refuse is a dirty, mundane and repetitive business. The lads like a mascot because it brightens up their day and gives the wagon a little bit of individuality."

One Member of Parliament, however, sees some humour in it all. "You have got to laugh. Haringey's streets are among the dirtiest in London," says Lynne Featherstone. "I wish the council would concentrate on improving its services rather than worrying about teddy bears." I'm not sure I really care about the teddies either; I'm just very happy our garbage gets picked up every week.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.