Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Advertising and Young Children

The Federal Trade Commission has established that it is an unfair or deceptive practice to portray children engaging in unsafe acts that may relate to unreasonable risk or harm (In re Uncle Ben's Inc., et al., 89 F.T.C. 831, 1975). The matter involved a commercial showing the face of a young girl coming very close to a boiling pot on the front burner of a stove.

Now, almost 40 years later, we see child safety remains an issue for the "front burner" when it comes to advertising management.

By way of perspective, the 1956 Refrigerator Safety Act stated that it is unlawful in the United States to sell household refrigerators that cannot be opened easily from the inside. The reason for this law was that refrigerators can be lethal to children.

In 1956, hundreds of children were being accidentally suffocated playing in refrigerators. Often the incidents involved two children climbing inside to play, then becoming trapped.

The law has proven effective. In 2010, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that there were 31 accidental suffocations of children aged 5 to 9. The number of accidents specifically involving refrigerators was not reported separately, but clearly there are far fewer such deaths than in the 1950s.

Nevertheless, safety issues remain when it comes to young children and refrigerators. A Google search for "refrigerator child locks" will return 873,000 results in less than a half second.

Clearly parents remain concerned, and playing inside refrigerators is not recommended for safety reasons.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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