I first met Boaz Keysar in 2001, three years after his son, Danny, died a horrible death, strangled in the collapsing top rail of a poorly designed portable crib in his day-care center's nap room.
It's hard to imagine anything that could magnify such an immense pain, but Keysar and his wife, Linda Ginzel, soon discovered something that did: The crib had been recalled five years earlier because of similar tragedies, but no one - not the center's employees or the mother who had donated the crib - knew anything about it.
Some people turn inward after tragic losses. Keysar and Ginzel set out to spare others from similar senseless grief. Twelve years later, their efforts have borne their greatest fruit yet. The "Danny Keysar Child Safety Notification Act" went into effect yesterday. It's designed to ensure that manufacturers of defective children's products will be able to contact their purchasers, much as automakers do after critical recalls.
In the years since Danny's death, Keysar and Ginzel, both professors at the University of Chicago, have done great good for the cause of children's safety. They founded the organization Kids in Danger, and have pushed for systemic improvement in product-safety regulation. It's been a tough slog. I'll never forget how Keysar pulled a plastic eyeball from his pocket to illustrate the broader problem. Considered a novelty item rather than a toy, the eyeball floated in a toxic solution, he said. No one cared then, and the situation hasn't changed much today - except for toys, and thanks in part to parents such as Keysar and Ginzel.