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House bill to improve product safety for children

Two measures in the House aim to prevent injuries to minors and children. The first would require manufacturers to include registration forms with the infant and toddler products that they sell. The aim is that this registry would improve the success rate of product recalls and keep dangerous products out of homes of children. Last year, one third of the product recalls issued were for children’s products.

The second measure to improve child safety is an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Act to increase the maximum civil penalty for product liability under the act to $20 million. While there is some concern that the increased maximum would also increase the frequency of litigation, supporters of the amendment realize that heavier penalties are necessary to get companies out of the mindset that product liability lawsuits are merely a cost of doing business. Awards for product liability should be commensurate with the amount of harm that the product inflicts. Otherwise, when companies realize that the costs of a capped civil penalty is less than the costs of safety, our nation’s children will unnecessarily be exposed to unsafe products.

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