Congress is acting correctly to put a brake on excessive advertising on children's television programs. Legislation to limit the amount of commercials on those shows is progressing steadily. If the overwhelming approval by the House is any indication, the measure should find favor in the Senate.

The Children's Television Act of 1988 would limit the number of minutes of commercial advertising on children's programs. Lawmakers also want commercial stations to pay attention to the educational needs of their young audiences. All this would be included when the Federal Communications Commission considers license renewals.It is an issue of child welfare. Congress and the agencies carrying out federal laws have some basic responsibilities: first, to prevent harm and, second, to encourage wholesome entertainment and education.

It's also a matter of greed overcoming good sense, which is why lawmakers saw the need to reinstate rules they had removed in 1984. The new proposal would basically require public interest measures that were the norm before 1984.

Voluntary guidelines on the number of children's commercials were dropped in the push toward deregulation. But fewer rules don't necessarily improve public fare. The number of commercial breaks increased.

Because it is dedicated to its deregulation policy, the administration does not favor the proposed limits. It's a kind of bullheadedness that's going to have more fallout on the next generation than it's worth. A rational notion didn't work. Greed won out. Now it's time to correct an honest mistake.