Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Day, Another Ban

I learned just this morning the US Consumer Products safety commission voted to ban baby cribs with a sliding gate.  This gate allows easy access to the child, but also creates a safety hazard, allowing the child to get its noggin stuck in the sliding mechanism.  The government stated that 32 children have died over the last decade as a result.  So, in a totalitarian manner, the unelected and unaccountable consumer product safety commission banned the manufacture, sale, and resale of these cribs.  For the children, of course.

The estimated cost of the ban is $467 million, as day care centers and the like will have to replace their now-banned cribs and purchase government approved ones.  It’s unclear whether churches and other private organizations will be affected.  Private citizens are not required to replace their cribs.

Generally speaking, I’m against government banning anything, as it deprives me of a choice and my liberty.  As a parent, only I can make the best decision as to the type of crib for my child.  Suppose my wife is wheelchair bound and a sliding gate allows her easy access to the child.  What is she to do now?  Or suppose aging grandparents enjoy being able to comfort a baby because the gate slides down and out of the way.  What are they to do now?

Many children will die this year in car accidents or because their parents locked them inside the car during the summer months (and the kid is trapped in a car seat).  Should we ban cars?  Some kids will die playing football, soccer, and basketball.  Shouldn’t we ban these sports?  My point is: life is uncertain.  We shouldn’t expect (nor do we want!) the government to watch over us like a paranoid nanny, eager to deprive us of choice in the name of safety.  In my opinion, that’s more dangerous than any crib.


  1. You are right. A dangerous government under this current regime can only be ousted when Americans realize their Bill of Rights still include freedoms (and voice with their votes). We are losing more of these precious freedoms daily.

  2. Somehow, I doubt that if your infant died in a daycare from such a described accident you would simply say "Hey, stuff happens. Dont worry I wont be holding anyone here responsible. It was MY BAD for leaving my child here. I'll be taking my next infant to another day care, you can be sure of that. You wont be getting any more of MY business!!"

    Is this the ONLY design solution to allow the access you are certain wil destroy the lives of wheelchair bound parents or elderly grandparents.

    I too feel like banning is something not to be taken lightly, but this clearly is NOT in that category. This product has been out for 10years at least so plenty of money has been made. This was not a knee jerk reaction, it was the result of long term looks at designs and their affects on child safety. This will spur some new designs....... creative destruction!!

  3. Greg,

    How many children die every day from a huge variety of accidents? Should all those things be banned? I see news stories every year that some kid drowned in the family pool. Ban pools! But wait, I don't have children.

    Okay, cribs are fairly specific. But how do you know 32 deaths in 10 years isn't the result of negligence. Ban negligent parents! Now there's a a ban I can support.

  4. These products HAVE been investigated and I think its reasonable to assume that all sides have had their day in court so to speak regarding these cribs.

    Yes living is dangerous but companies should make products that dont kill people, unless they are making guns. I have not followed this story that closely but I imagine you havent either. Yours is (it seems to me) a knee jerk reaction to banning, Im saying it does not look like a knee jerk reaction TO ban. This is over 10 years of product use. Im quite sure that people looked at all these cases quite closely before making this decision. Testing prior to sending to market cannot find all potential flaws. We had a drug taken off the market recently, a pain medication that had been given for over 50 years, Darvon. More recent studies had determined that it was not as safe as advertised and in fact quite harmful.

    I'm with you on negligent parents btw. Its more trouble to get a drivers license than to raise a child.

    Accidents that are preventable by simple things, like wearing helmets, should be adopted. Dealing with car accidents is multi factoral, but banning texting while driving is something I support.

  5. Greg,

    Perhaps my biggest issue is than some unaccountable government agency can simply declare a company's product illegal? What we don't see is the unseen. What will be the unintended consequences of this action? Granted, in this specific case, the unseen may be negligible, but that shouldn't matter.

    There are millions of products that have the potential to do us harm. Jeff is right about the pools. Probably 100s of kids die each year due to drowning. Ban pools?

    As the parent of my child, I want the option to CHOOSE and now I can't. The government has decided for me, and a little liberty was taken away today.

  6. What are the unintended consequences of NOT banning the crib? Right now we know (suspect) at least 32 unintended consequences are infant deaths. You can "unintended consequence" our self to death.

    One of the weaknesses I see in many of the, what I will call HYPER-libertarians, is that they rightly recognize that that every decision is a give and take. That nothing comes free, or happens in a vacuum. This is a law of action reaction in the universe we live in. But, in my view, they use this knowledge as an argument to, in too many cases, DO NOTHING.
    Doing nothing has consequences as well.

    Yes, we should make decisions carefully, yes we should try to consider the consequences of our actions and we should never think we can make our existence worry free or accident free or hardship free BUT we should also be willing to backtrack when we find out we were wrong about something. I hope (and believe) that this company would not have made this design this way if they had forseen 32 infants dying as a result.

    Regarding pools, if some are bad designs and lead to more accidents, this information should be available. Its already well known what an insurance risk having a pool in your yard is. Insurers require you to put fences around your yard and require you to pay more for your homeowner and in some instances wont even give personal umbrellas if you own one. We cant ban pools but you might lose a lot if your neighbors kids drowns in yours. Has the insurance company taken any of your liberty? Has your neighbor threatened your liberty at all when you know youll be sued if his kid drowns in your pool?

  7. "Yes, we should make decisions carefully, yes we should try to consider the consequences of our actions and we should never think we can make our existence worry free or accident free or hardship free BUT we should also be willing to backtrack when we find out we were wrong about something."

    Who is "we"?

    I object to having your "we" deprive me of a choice. You would have "we" make decisions only I can make. I don't want "we" trying to determine what's best for me, because it's an impossible task.

    No, "we" should guarantee not my safety, but my liberty to choose. With liberty comes much responsibility, but that too is being tucked away by your "we".

  8. Well go live somewhere else then. If you are part of a civilized society "we" will come up with rules to live by. And yes, if you want to stay here, you will have to pay and play. It IS up for discussion. We will elect people to represent us (hopefully) but its not going to me every man for himself. You want that go to Somalia. I hear the land is cheap.

    Your liberty to choose(here) will have limits........ sorry. It wont be too rough on you I hope.