Warning: Titan Tyke Falls, Cleans Up Afterwards

Diaper station pictorial warningIt’s always fun, fun, and more fun deciphering pictorial warnings.

Here’s a warning, along with a request, from a restaurant restroom in Naples, Florida: be careful not to let your baby fall off of the changing station, and also, don’t forget to throw away the dirty diaper! A good warning and reasonable request.

Remember, to interpret pictorial warnings, you have to imagine you can’t read the textual warnings below the symbols, either because you can’t read at all or can’t read English or other language the verbal warning is printed in. That’s the purpose of a pictorial warning: to convey a danger or instruction to persons for whom verbal warnings are inadequate.

The first picture–the falling baby–does a pretty good job of communicating the risk, although that is one huge baby. His feet are way above the changing table while his head is already touching the floor. Recommended height for a wall-mounted baby changing station is 45.5 inches. At that height, this baby would be approximately six-feet tall judging by the picture.

Because the child is portrayed as a giant, the flecks flying up around his head look like they could be pieces of floor tile. Maybe the intended warning is: “Do Not Damage Floor with Falling  Objects.” Or: “No Sumo Wrestlers on Changing Table.”

But the poor “little guy” is resilient. The second picture shows him cleaning up afterwards, and good news! He looks fit as a fiddle.

These accidents do happen and are terrible to imagine. The risk is obvious, but maybe a picture serves a useful reminding function.

On the 4.0 point “Pictorial Product Symbol Clarity” rating system recently developed at secret Lawhaha.com laboratories, I would give these pictorial symbols a 3.5. What do you think?

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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