2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

The Refrigerator Safety Act of 1956
Tanya M. Horvath
Dr. Candy Young, Faculty Mentor

The Refrigerator Safety Act of 1956 was a regulatory policy enacted to protect young children from dying inside abandoned refrigerators. Today it is difficult to imagine that this problem was not dealt with more quickly, but in the 1940s and 50s, abandoned refrigerators posed a large problem that was not acknowledged until the number of deaths significantly rose in the early 1950s. Many states passed laws prohibiting the careless disposing of refrigerators, but law only work if citizens abide by them. To supplement these laws, three congressmen headed a movement towards a federal regulation that would require refrigerator manufacturers to assume the responsibility for refrigerator safety. This interpretive case study examines the appropriateness of existing policy models. Using a process approach and government documents, this paper suggests that a new technological development advanced the issue and that there may have been motives, other than good citizenship, for the affected corporations to support the regulatory bill. The latter portions of the paper examine the implementation and evolution of the bill.

Keywords: regulatory policy, political science, child safety, case study, agenda setting

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 49-2
Location: VH 1412
Time: 1:30 pm

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