Top 5 Strange Things Kids Can’t Buy on their Own Anymore

Top 5 Strange Things Kids Can’t Buy

by Aya Katz

I am a parent, and as a parent, I have exercised control over my daughter’s access to dangerous items since she was born, making decisions based on what I felt was reasonable for her current level of development. All parents do that. I am certainly not advocating setting children free to do whatever they like from birth, but lately I have noticed a disturbing trend: when a child arrives at an age when he or she can be expected to become more independent, that is when access to more and more substances that used to be considered harmless or perfectly safe is being restricted.

Just as our children are starting to spread their wings and exercise more control over themselves, their bodies and their lives, society is making it very hard for them to function without an adult at their side at all times. Here are the five top odd things that I have noticed becoming restricted to minors during my lifetime. They are the sort of things that you used to be able to send your child to the local grocery store or pharmacy to get, but now are off limits.

These restrictions vary by state, since laws are by no means uniform, and sometimes they also depend on the business establishment in question, since how federal and state laws are interpreted by different corporations also varies. But the overall effect is more and more restrictions on what children approaching the age of consent can buy on their own. Here is a list of top five things that it might surprise you kids can’t buy.

1. Nail Polish Remover


A couple of years ago I was at the store, and my daughter wanted me to add nail polish remover to our grocery list. As I was checking out, the cashier asked me whether I was over eighteen. That was odd for two reasons: 1. I am well over eighteen. I have been over eighteen for decades. 2. We had no alcohol or tobacco products or anything like that in the cart. And that’s when I learned that people were being carded for nail polish remover.

Now I have looked and looked and not found any law that warrants this restriction, but I believe that it is at least obliquely related to the fact that acetone has been listed, along with iodine, by the DEA as list II chemicals:

(35) The term “list II chemical” means a chemical (other than a list I chemical) specified by regulation of the Attorney General as a chemical that is used in manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of this subchapter, and such term includes (until otherwise specified by regulation of the Attorney General, as considered appropriate by the Attorney General or upon petition to the Attorney General by any person) the following chemicals:

(A) Acetic anhydride.

(B) Acetone.

(C) Benzyl chloride.

(D) Ethyl ether.

(E) Repealed. Pub. L. 101–647, title XXIII, §2301(b), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4858.

(F) Potassium permanganate.

(G) 2-Butanone (or Methyl Ethyl Ketone).

(H) Toluene.

(I) Iodine.

(J) Hydrochloric gas.

As with many Federal rules and regulations, nobody actually knows what it means to be a list II chemical, but different chains of stores and pharmacies then get to promulgate different rules to cover themselves to avoid getting in trouble with the almighty government.

So that’s why it happens that just when my daughter developed an interest in nail polish and nail polish remover, that was when it suddenly became forbidden for her to buy this “dangerous” substance on her own.

“Didn’t you know that kids can’t buy nail polish remover?” she asked me.

No. I had no idea! It wasn’t a problem when I was her age.

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