Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CPSIA - It's Time To Feel Safe - We're SAVED!

Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Klobuchar (D-MN) rushed to meet with CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum today to investigate the spreading scourge of pool drains that may have failed lab tests. Budget crisis, what budget crisis? The TOP priority of these crack Democrat Senators is stopping $20 pool drains that may have failed lab tests from reaching the market. Oops, thousands of them were installed. . . . Then again, there is no accusation that anyone was hurt by these drains.

As previously disclosed in this space, Mr. Durbin did his research over breakfast, relying on the unbiased hyperbolic reporting of the Chicago Tribune as his bird dog on this one. The Chicago Tribune article relied on an industry "organization" presumably formed to further the interests of a company named Vac-Alert Industries which makes expensive systems that are (presumably) more effective than $20 pool drains. Money is no object, especially when we don't even bother to assess the size of the risk! Not quite sure why the senior Minnesotan Senator tagged along. For moral support? Or perhaps to get her picture in the paper for saving children.

When I knew Amy Klobuchar back in law school, we were graded on how well we did our research. Points off for not scrutinizing the shameful reporting of the Tribune, Amy!

More points off for manufacturing a crisis to pander to your voters! According to the CPSC website, pool drains have NEVER been recalled in U.S. history. Hmmm. There were NO pool entrapment deaths in 2009 according to the always authoritative Scott Wolfson. The cited USAToday article implies that there were none in 2010, either (through July 2nd).

The Virginia Baker Graeme Pool and Spa Safety Act was designed to prevent a particularly gruesome death that tragically afflicted 11 people over ten years, including the young grandchild of James Baker, former Secretary of State. For the math-addled, that's one pool drain entrapment death per year in our country of 300 million (I assume some Senators are reading this blog). For perspective, my subversive friend Lenore Skenazy notes that five Americans die from venomous spider bites each year. [Ironically, I was able to find a video of Senators Durbin and Klobuchar teaming up to kill a spider - to keep you safe!]

There is another pool safety "risk" that the two esteemed Senators did not come to the CPSC to discuss - drownings. Any idea how many of THOSE there might be? Quite a few, it turns out. Commissioner Anne Northup notes that CPSC death statistics for 1999-2006 (seven years) account for a mere 27, 514 drownings, or 3,439 per year. 6,685 of these drownings occurred to children 14 and under, or 836 per year. Let's see, 836 drowned kids each year, divided by 365 days, that;s more than two dead kids per day. At least that's less than the almost TEN AMERICANS THAT DROWN EVERY DAY.

But I don't want to be accused of misusing statistics. Fun statistics can prove almost anything if you yank and twist hard enough. Just ask Dr. Dana Best! The CPSC acknowledges that only some of those kid deaths come in a pool or spa: "From 2005-2007 there was an annual average of 385 pool and spa-related drownings for children younger than 15; about 78 percent, or 299, of these children were younger than five. From 2007-2009, there were an estimated average of 4,200 pool or spa emergency department-treated submersions for children younger than 15; and children between the ages of 12 to 35 months represented 47 percent of estimated injuries for these years." That's almost one dead kid under five every day of the year and 5-6 serious injuries for kids under three every day. EVERY DAY.

I am just panicked about pool drains . . . .

No wonder the Senators are so worried about the $20 pool drains. It's a national crisis.

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