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BBC: Family want plastic pen tops ban

The parents of a County Durham schoolboy, who choked to death on a plastic pen top, are stepping up their campaign to get them banned.

In case you were in any doubt, it's plastic pen tops they want to ban, not schoolboys.

A measured and proportionate over-reaction, I'm sure you'll all agree.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I could have sworn that I've already seen cunningly designed plastic pen tops that lower the risk of choking. If not, I've just blown my chance of millionairedom by broadcasting the idea on Gruts.

    Anyway, if plastic pen tops are banned, won't all the pens dry out? They haven't thought this one through.

  2. I believe most pens don't dry out if you leave the top off (apart from felt-tip pens, etc.). The primary purpose of a pen top is to prevent accidental spillage.

    I assume that the cunningly designed pen tops you refer to are the ones with holes in them. They would seem to confirm my belief that most pens don't require air-tight tops.

  3. I was thinking of felt tips, and the cunning design involved more than a hole, but one intellectual debagging a week is enough for me so I'm keeping my head down.

    Oh, but I would like to second the muffin top proposal.

  4. I don't think you can "third" a proposal, but I'm behind you all the way on the muffin-top front (Humm... not sure that came out quite right).

    The choke-friendly felt-pen lids are just two tube held one inside the other. The central one is closed to avoid the pen drying out, while the outer one is left open, so that between them is a passage for air.

    The trauma of losing a child must be terrible, but if all lids were non-choke, I can't imagine many kids would perrish from them. Much more likely to choke on a nut or marble or something (kids probably don't play mables any more, except with rocks of crack, I suppose). You can't ban everything a kiddy might choke on, but making them as safe as is compatible with their function seems fair enough. Any idea how many kiddies a year are lost to pen-lids?

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