BRUSSELS, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- New European Union safety rules will keep unsupervised children under 8 from blowing up balloons during Christmas celebrations, officials said.
Under a recently enacted EU toy safety directive, the children are not allowed to blow up balloons because they could accidentally swallow them and choke, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.
And whistle-blowers, party favors that unroll a long colored paper tongue when blown into, have been classified as unsafe for children under 14 because of worries the whistle could be swallowed, the newspaper said.
The whistles and balloons are among favorite toys in Christmas stockings.
The bans quickly attracted opposition, with critics saying they're part of a trend to micromanage children's lives.
"Toys and activities, such as blowing up balloons, are part and parcel of the type of children's play that helps them become independent and self-reliant," University of Ken sociology Professor Frank Furedi said.
"These bans diminish the experience, both of having fun and learning, by turning play into a danger zone, with rules that stifle life and adventure for children," he said.