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This is spreading widely on the internets:

The lack of circumstantial details makes me suspect it's a fake, but it's still an amusing one.

Update — As X notes in the comments,  it's not fake as in "created by photoshop", but it IS fake in the sense of being added as an ironic joke by a company known for such things.

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19 Comments »

  1. S Frankel said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 8:03 am

    It's got to be a fake, since it's obvious that if you turn it inside out, the child will be removed automatically.

  2. Andrew Bay said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 8:46 am

    Frankel,
    Not true. My son was wearing a shirt inside out all day this weekend since he put it on himself. It was a plain white t-shirt, so you only noticed when you saw the tag on the back.

  3. Eric P Smith said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 8:58 am

    I saw an equally no-brainer message on a microwave oven in a petrol station (gas station) some years ago:

    WARNING. FOOD THAT HAS BEEN HEATED MAY BE HOT.

    [(myl) Oddly, that one does not seem to have made it onto the internets before now. But a few years ago, we had "UNIT AUTOMATICALLY BECOMES PORTABLE WHEN CARRIED".]

  4. David L said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 10:28 am

    I've seen warnings on those sun screens you put in your car windshield that say "do not drive with screen in place."

  5. S Frankel said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 10:46 am

    Like the infamous warnings on peanut butter, "Product contains peanuts," there's an explanation for some of these: it's cheaper and easier to put on stupid warnings that to defend against even one obviously stupid lawsuit. Maybe the Chinese shirt is genuine, and a wry comment on our legal system.

  6. Alan Gunn said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    My personal favorite is the Batman costume with the warning, "Cape Does not Enable Wearer to Fly." One somewhat similar to the label here is the warning on a folding stroller to "Remove Child Before Folding Stroller." This one doesn't strike me as so weird that it's likely a fake.

    These are amusing, but they also cause considerable harm, as they encourage a belief that all warnings are meaningless boilerplate. Many products come with so many warnings that most users will skip all of them, sometimes missing warnings that might in fact be valuable. Years ago, one of my students, who had a graduate degree in psychology, wrote a paper for a class I taught in which she argued convincingly that putting more than three warnings on something usually meant that none of them would be read. It's the lawyers' fault, of course. People have been held liable for not warning of even obvious dangers. Piper was once held liable for a plane crash caused by the pilot's putting a huge camera in the front seat, blocking his view. He sued and recovered on the theory that the plane should have had a warning that it was not safe to fly it with your visibility obstructed.

  7. Gregory Kusnick said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 11:27 am

    It could plausibly be genuine if "child" is construed as a mistranslation of "lining" or "accessories" or something of that nature. The cap I'm wearing as I write this has a battery pack that must be removed before washing. (I realize this probably makes me seem a lot weirder than I actually am.)

  8. J. W. Brewer said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 11:58 am

    Perhaps what we need is a lawsuit where an injured plaintiff wins on the ground that the warning which would have been salient for preventing the incident in question was included on the label but ineffective in practice because buried in the clutter of a dozen other not-so-salient warnings. Although that would probably create even more chaos as people tried to work out exactly how to find the right balance. There may also be a phenomenon like prescriptivist-induced "nervous cluelessness" and/or "hypercorrection" where some warnings are included that a good lawyer you were willing to pay a sufficient sum to would advise that they were totally unnecessary but for many products these labeling decisions are being made by low level people (maybe not always L1 Anglophones?) who would rather "err on the side of caution" (thus predictably overreacting to the incentives the legal system has undoubtedly created) than invest the time and resources necessary to get good advice for their specific situation.

  9. X said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

    It could just be a company with a sense of humor. They know nobody reads the tags, so sometimes they slip in some jokes. My favorite was a 7-11 muffin that had directions on it: 1. Remove wrapper. 2. Place muffin in mouth. 3. Eat.

    PS: Ah, yes, it's by Ugly Children's Clothing, a Norwegian company: Fish skeleton shirt

  10. Daniel Barkalow said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

    I think that most of these warnings actually come from cases where someone did the thing described because the person couldn't tell that what they were doing was unsafe. That is, someone folded the stroller with a child in it, not because they thought that it's okay to leave the child in the stroller, but because they couldn't see that there was a child in the stroller. I've seen a waffle iron with a warning like "Avoid touching parts that are hot", which is actually there because the parts that get hot look just like the handle. Rather than admit that the device is misleading, they just tell you not to do the thing that you would avoid (because you're not an idiot) if you weren't misled.

  11. Victor Mair said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

    I think that it's real and that Gregory Kusnick has the right idea.

    One Chinese translation for "lining" is lǐzi 里子, which a machine might easily mistake for "inside child".

    I'm pretty sure that I've seen this same mistranslation several times before.

  12. Jon Weinberg said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

    @Alan Gunn: I think you're thinking of Cleveland v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 890 F.2d 1540 (10th Cir. 1989), but if so, the facts have gotten somewhat muddled in the retelling; that case wasn't about warnings at all. Cleveland was flying a Super Cub from the rear pilot's seat, having removed the front seat and replaced it with a camera mount and camera. (The owner's manual says that you can remove the front seat and fly from the rear seat.) The camera doesn't appear to have blocked Cleveland's view, but he did bash his head on it during the accident impact. The jury found that Piper was partly at fault because the Super Cub's design (without regard to the modification) gives inadequate visibility from the rear seat, and that Cleveland was partly at fault because he should have known better than to fly from the rear seat *while towing a glider*. The appeals court reversed the award to Cleveland and sent it back for a new trial.

  13. Alan Gunn said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

    @Jon Weinberg: You're right. I can't imagine there were two cases like this, so I must have mixed this up with something else. I don't think I ever read the opinion, but it was of course discussed at some length in aviation magazines.

  14. Rubrick said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    Pop Tarts used to contain the warning "Caution: pastries may be hot when heated." They eventually changed that one.

  15. Meg Wilson said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

    Wry Baby is a humorous baby-clothing company that uses this warning (their version is "remove baby before washing"), and has done so for at least 6 years (when my kid was born).

  16. Brett said,

    July 7, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

    The theory that it's a mistranslation (as opposed to an intentional joke) actually makes a specific prediction—that this wording could be found in garments sized for adults, not just ones for children.

  17. Clare said,

    July 10, 2014 @ 2:57 am

    I think it's just a gimmick. I had a t-shirt when I was young with a washing label that said "tidy your room and be back by 11". My mother thought it was hilarious.

  18. Jonathan Dushoff said,

    July 10, 2014 @ 6:22 am

    I was guessing in advance that the Piper Cub story would turn out to be not so clearcut, for two reasons: juries are not typically idiotic; and corporations have a huge incentive to oversell these stories in their pursuit of tort reform. I used to know somebody who studied these things (he was advocating against tort reform) and it seems to just be true that the ridiculous story you hear is never true (as of approximately 20 years ago, when I was paying attention).

    The poster child for these cases is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald%27s_Restaurants. I'm not so sure what I think of that award, but I do know that when I conducted an informal survey a few years later, literally _everyone_ I asked knew the basic damning facts (woman burns herself, gets $2 million), and literally _nobody_ I asked was familiar with any of the mitigating facts (she didn't actually get anywhere near $2 million; she originally asked McDonald's for hospital costs and they blew her off; McDonald's coffee was much hotter than its competitors'; they'd had hundreds of recorded complaints, many serious).

  19. Diane said,

    July 10, 2014 @ 10:27 am

    When my son was an infant, I tried to get my landlord to lower the temperature of our water, as recommended by the pediatrician to avoid burning. The landlord was for some reason resistant to do this. He finally agreed to send out a handyman, who came by, didn't change the water, and instead left us a note that said, "If water is too hot, add cold water."

    True story.

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