Dec 10, 10:08 am ET
TORONTO (Reuters) - No more kid stuff fantasy nursery rhymes.
Instead, parents should give children the hard facts in "medically sound" ditties that offer quick relief for nursery rhyme characters who clearly suffer major head injuries.
A tongue-in-cheek paper by Canadian researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, found six popular nursery rhymes that refer to alarming injuries.
"We think it's of critical importance because of these very, very tragic stories," study co-author Dr. Sarah Shea said from Halifax on Tuesday.
"We're stunned at the fact that they've been told over and over to children with such complacency without people stopping to really look at both what's happened and really to mourn some of the losses."
The offending rhymes include "Jack and Jill," who went up a hill only to tumble down with a broken crown, as well as "Humpty Dumpty," who had a great fall from a wall.
Particularly egregious were the injuries presumably sustained by "Ten Little Monkeys," who begin the rhyme jumping on a bed but by its end are nowhere to be found.
That leaves only one conclusion, according to the paper: Each monkey must have sustained a major head or spinal injury.
"This rhyme is yet another example of the need for strong legislation to protect members of our society who are at risk," the authors said.
"After the first incident, the monkeys should have been placed in foster care, perhaps with "The Man with the Yellow Hat."
Meanwhile, the idea that all the king's horses and all the king's men should try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again just cracks up the researchers.
"What sort of EMS (emergency medical service) training and equipment did these first responders have?"
The lighthearted paper offers a more medically realistic nursery rhyme about little Johnny who fell off a bike and split his skull, but after neurosurgery is now well and always wears a helmet.