I love when laws hurt the people who weren’t part of the problem to begin with- really.
Mom101 wrote this post on the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the States that will go into effect in February, essentially (as I understand it) calling for more rigorous safety testing for things like lead in childrens’ products. After the slew of recalls on everything from train sets (James’ shiny red paint was loaded with lead) to plastic Dora crap toys, it’s obvious that something needs to be done.
The problem is that most of these recalls were on toys that come from ginormous companies that mass-manufacture everything overseas as cheaply as possible and then sell them in North America through big retailers from Wal-Mart to Sears to any of a great multitude of Dollar stores. They can afford to do the testing.
The little guys are going to get hurt, though. The parents, designers and crafters who are making unique toys and clothes by hand and selling them on Etsy or at craft fairs, who are (mostly) trying to improve the quality of the dtuff that’s available to our kids… well, they can’t afford the testing. If they go out of business, we won’t have any choice but to buy our kids the same Hannah Montana __(insert merchandising opportunity here)__ everyone else has.
We want everything to be safe, of course, and testing’s not a bad idea… so what’s the solution to this problem? Mom101 suggests some ideas, and she links to some other good articles/ blog posts on the subject.
For the record, our kids aren’t getting all-handmade items this year. Simon’s nuts for the Cars and his Thomas trains, and Isaac’s getting an old-school Fisjer Price phone like the ones we had when we were kids. But there’s handmade stuff in there, too, and shopping for that stuff was way more interesting than hitting Wal-Mart… and I’d hate to see all those people go out of business… and then go to work at Wal-Mart… ugh.