Of course, this all comes as great news, particularly in light of the Bush Administrations comparatively lax (and grotesquely corporate-friendly) regulatory standards. Still, as encouraging as this might be, it’s worth emphasizing that regulations after the fact don't do much to help already injured children, some of whom have been mutilated—nor does it help the families of those killed due to corporate negligence. Lawsuits provide often catastrophically injured victims with the means to pay for excessive medical bills and other injury-related expenses. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized this “distinct compensatory function that may motivate injured persons to come forward with information.” Lawsuits can ensure such regulations are followed and increase awareness, which in turn, informs busy parents about dangers that are hard to see.
So bravo that federal agencies have been taking more aggressive steps to help protect America’s kids. But let’s not forget that the civil justice system is a crucial complement to our regulatory structure.