Playgroups throughout East Hampshire have been forced to stop wrapping children in cotton wool – on the orders of Petersfield Health & Safety Police.
"Recent research shows that cotton wool actually contains very high levels of mercury and lead," said Dr Douglas Furr, Professor of Sheep Studies at Brecon University.
"It turns out wearing a cotton-wool protector may be even more dangerous for young children than stroking small, furry animals.
"We would urge all parents to keep their youngsters indoors – preferably in their bedrooms – until they are 23."
No-one from the National Sheep Worriers’ Association was available for comment.