The Feds Want A Seat At Your Family’s Dining Room Table

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents that children could be hurt if they use a particular high chair marketed by phil & teds. The Associated Press breathlessly reports that “numerous” children have been injured in the chair — but it turns out that “numerous” means “maybe one a year.”

A few years ago, a mom on my neighborhood list-serv wrote in that she was appalled by this phil & ted’s high chair and that so many people had recommended it to her. For urban households where space is a premium, a high chair that clips onto a table is in high demand. Anyway, she said that the chair had slipped off of her beveled edge glass table and then broke the table, causing her kid to tumble (or nearly tumble). Other parents pointed out that the instructions phil & teds give for the chair clearly state that beveled edge tables are not appropriate for this high chair and that glass tables are never appropriate either.

Anyway, here’s how the Associated Press reported the latest news:

“The chairs have metal clamps that attach to most table tops, such as a restaurant table. The CPSC says those clamps can easily come loose, causing the chair to detach and sending the child plummeting to the floor.

Fingers or hands can also be pinched or crushed when the chairs partially detach from a table, catching a child’s fingers or hands between the clamp and a metal bar on the front of the chair.

The commission says the company refused to agree to a national recall that was acceptable to the agency.”

Good for them! While safety is the number one racket among consumer rackets directed at children, there’s no need for this government overreach. Yes, if you don’t fasten a table-attached high chair properly, your kid can get hurt. Obviously. And I have no doubt that a bunch of parents can’t be bothered to read an instruction manual (which you can read here) or monitor how tight the clamps are at a given restaurant. These parents should not purchase or use this product. For the 99.9% of parents who can read an instruction manual and take responsibility for their children, these threats from the CSPC are overkill.