My home is ready "for the children."

Just standing in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, I was suddenly amazed to see how many of the things around me in my childfree house are full of warnings for my nonexistent children.

The cord on my hair dryer has a tag which cautions me to warn children about the risk of death from electric shock, should they get the bright idea to drop a plugged-in hair dryer into a bathtub. There’s even a charming illustration of a full tub and a hair dryer just about to plunge into the moist depths, with the big international “NO” circle-and-slash symbol over it.

I looked at the bucket of kitty litter, only to see that I should never partially fill the bucket with water and then let a child climb in head-first. According to the illustration, little baby Upsidedown might drown in as little as a few inches of water. When I was a kid, buckets never had such warnings. We even kept a bucket of water out on the back patio for the dog to drink from, and amazingly, neither I nor my brother ever managed to drown headfirst in that bucket.

Oh look, the garbage bags! I should never let my phantom children play with them, or put the garbage bags over their phantom heads. As much fun as that sounds, the bags present a “choking hazard.” And let’s not even start on the bottles of cleaning chemicals, which all fretfully recommend I keep them out of the reach of children.

So even though I have no children, will never have children, and a child has never been in my small bathroom, my bathroom still has the word “children” in at least a dozen places.

What a world.

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