Senator Gillibrand Needs a Time-Out…

… or a nap in her very own crib.   She’s sticking her legislative nose where it is not needed.  Again.  This time it’s cribs.  But don’t worry.  She’s only doing so out of concern for our safety, or at least the safety of our children.  You see, our children’s cribs are death traps.  At least the ones with drop sides.  Gillibrand wants to legislate a quick end to the sale and resale of these cribs.  Check out this article by Jennifer Kerr of the Associated Press in the Times Union.

Before the accusations fly that I am nothing but a cold-hearted person, let me assure you that is not the case.  As a father of two wonderful boys, one of my biggest fears is that one of my boys could be seriously injured or worse.  While I do not dwell on that fear, I often find myself with a lump in my throat when reading about a young child who has been hurt or has died.  I cannot even begin to imagine the grief faced by parents, siblings and other relatives.  According to the aforementioned TU article, 32 infants have died in drop side crib-related deaths over the last decade.  It’s a small number, but still indicative of a serious problem.  The question is, who should solve the problem?

My answer:  neither Sen. Gillibrand nor her Senate colleagues.  The article supports this.  Kerr wrote, “The industry has already started phasing out drop-sides and big retailers such as Babies R Us and Wal-Mart have taken them off sale floors.”  Further, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is already working on a ban of drop side cribs.  (Side note:  I’m not a huge fan of the CPSC either.  I think they overstep their bounds too frequently, but that’s not an issue for discussion now.)

It looks to me like the marketplace and the CPSC are taking action.  So why is Sen. Gillibrand involved?  She wants to speed things up.  Really?  When has Congress effectively sped up a process without screwing it up?  She also wants to prevent the resale of these cribs.  She even sent a letter to the CEO of Craigslist demanding that he remove three drop side cribs being sold on the site.  Gillibrand’s own words are telling.  In the TU article Kerr wrote, “‘There’s a great urgency here. We have to make sure that no parent is unaware that drop-side cribs could kill their children,’ Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in an Associated Press interview.”  I’m not sure how a legislative ban could significantly increase awareness more than the previous recalls and media attention.  To me her idea for a legislative ban sounds more like an election year ploy by New York’s junior senator.

I’ll let you in on a couple secrets.  First, parents (not legislators) are ultimately responsible for raising their children.  That includes keeping them safe.  It’s true.  Don’t let any “nanny state” Congress critters tell you otherwise.  Second, both of my kids slept in [gasp] a drop side crib.  We didn’t buy it.  It was a second-hand gift.  I repainted and reassembled it… very carefully.  I periodically tested it.  And when the kids started standing and shaking the crib, we moved them to “big boy” beds.

Yes, it is a drop side crib. (What can I say... we had a farm-themed nursery).

It should not be a surprise:  I do not need a senator to tell me how to raise my kids!

Senator Gillibrand:  take a time out.  Better yet, take a nap.  I’ve got a crib you can borrow.  I promise you that it’s safe.

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  1. springtimesoul

     /  May 24, 2010

    Nanny, as in goat–should fit in well with the farm theme.


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