‘For a long time the practice of wrapping one’s offspring in cotton wool has had a bad reputation, with many believing it to be in some way damaging to the children,’ explained Brian Thigh, Professor of Medicine at the University of Hull. ‘However, recent tests have shown that the opposite is true.’
‘In a rigorous series of experiments, we have dropped children from heights, shot them from cannons and allowed anvils to fall on them, and we can now say without doubt that the subjects wrapped in cotton wool fared far better than a control group without such wrapping.’
Mr Thigh admitted that this new direction in childcare has not been entirely trouble-free. ‘Yes, we lost several hundred children to suffocation,’ he admitted candidly yesterday, ‘It turns out that cotton wool is a lot less breathable than you would expect, and we did have problems at first until we started leaving air-holes. But these initial difficulties are largely behind us.’
The whole cotton wool wrapping issue has provoked a sceptical reaction from the teaching industry. TUC representative Roger Beard insisted that his 30 years’ experience teaching chemistry had convinced him of the dangers of an over-protective attitude.
‘These days, it’s all protective goggles and safety first,’ he complained. ‘Now, when I was a keen young trainee teacher, we thought nothing of blinding a child with a controversially dangerous chemical experiment before breakfast, and that’s not to mention the asbestos casualties. They were fine days, fine days…’