Thursday, September 27, 2007

You can't be serious?

I just had to mention this news story that popped up this morning. It looks like Kolcraft (makers of various baby gear) is pulling some of its playpens from the market. A 10 month old apparently choked himself to death while playing in one.

Now normally the odds of this sort of thing happening are low - these guys make baby products and are obviously interested in keeping them safe. In this case though, it's amazing this is the first incident. If you look at a picture of one of these playpens, it essentially has a noose hanging in its center!

In the picture below, imagine the strap on the top flipped over to hang into the pen when the top basket is removed (there was actually a picture of it hanging down on TV but I couldn't find one online).

It boggles the mind that the guy who designed this didn't think about the possible ramifications of a loose noose-like strap hanging in the middle of a baby's play area! They should have just labeled it the 'playpen of death' and had a pit of crocodiles to remove the lifeless body come as an accessory.

This is one of those cases where you can obviously see the problem with hindsight, but still fail to imagine, without hindsight, how the issue was missed.

It's the sort of thing I dread happening with our software product - some serious design flaw that is a major game-breaker. Of course, we won't be killing babies so the stakes are a bit lower.

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