Consumer Freedom

Dumb Laws Force Kids to Go Naked, Shut Down Small Businesses

|

angry baby

OK, maybe naked is an exaggeration. But small companies are bailing out of the children's clothing business, thanks to a dumb batch of regulations put into place in 2009. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Nancy Nord writes that:

At least some apparel manufacturers are opting to exit the children's market rather than brave our labyrinthine minefield of children's product rules. These requirements, which are arcane to trained lawyers and incomprehensible to most other people, have also forced micro-businesses focused on children's clothing to cut back or to shut down completely. Thanks to our staff, we knew this sort of thing was coming, and with little if any benefit, but my colleagues decided to forge ahead anyway.

In another post, she tells stories from some trade conferences:

One small business owner, with fewer than 10 employees, told me of needing to add an employee to do nothing but administer and document his testing and regulatory compliance program. Another told me that since children's garments were not a major part of his business, he has decided just to get out of that aspect of the business altogether rather than have to hassle with all the rules.

Products destined for children have long been subject to aggressive regulation, but the biggest bugaboo these days is 2009's Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which bans lead and phthalates in toys, books, clothes, and any other object intended for children under 12. 

The law was designed to require additional testing for children's toys after a 2007 scare over contaminants in Chinese-made Mattel toys. But overly broad language and strict testing and labeling requirements meant the law wound up seriously hurting the market in second-hand children's books, making charitable giving of secondhand stuffed animals tougher, putting motorbike manufacturers out of business, squelching the market in handmade wooden toys, taking popular children's jewelry off the shelves, and more. 

And now your kid is going to be naked—or worse, have to wear shmattes from some kind of big box chain that can afford all the extra testing and labeling. Once again, regulations designed to rein in the big guys wind up hurting little guys—literal and metaphorical.

Via Overlawyered.

Advertisement

NEXT: New York State Police Seek Friends on Facebook

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. One thing to stress about the Mattel lead scare.

    Mattel is exempt from the testing regulations that were implemented to prevent a repeat of its accidental importation of lead contaminated toys.

    I repeat, Mattel is exempt from the testing regulations that were implemented to prevent a repeat of its accidental importation of lead contaminated toys.

    Ponder that on the tree of woe.

    1. Technically it’s not exempt, it just got permission to use its own in-house testing agency (which only a giant toy company could afford to do).

    2. I love crony capitalism. It’s always nice when a big company fucks up and regulations get put in place that do nothing but shut down small companies and increase the original evildoers market share.

  2. Calling saboteur extraordinary Jorj X. McKie…

    …McKie, Jorj X. McKie!

    1. Two great books. The Bureau of Sabotage should have been the fourth branch of government.

      1. Those are great. I’ve been reading a bunch of non-Dune Frank Herbert lately and there is some pretty cool stuff. I really liked Hellstrom’s Hive.

  3. But small companies are bailing out of the children’s clothing business, thanks to a dumb batch of regulations put into place in 2009.

    “These requirements, which are arcane to trained lawyers and incomprehensible to most other people, have also forced micro-businesses focused on children’s clothing to cut back or to shut down completely.”

    That was the goal all along. That is what regulations are for: To give a leg-up to the established Big Booming Voice In The Sky companies over their smaller but nimbler competition.

    1. It’s amazing how Mattel was able to convert the outrage from a supply chain control fuckup into a claymore swinging at the knees of its competitors.

      1. No, pretty typical, actually. Regulation always favors the big companies.

  4. This isn’t a Stossel post? Give me a break!

    1. That made me re-read it in Stossel Voice. Awesome!

  5. And now your kid is going to be naked?or worse, have to wear shmattes from some kind of big box chain that can afford all the extra testing and labeling.

    Agree with the main point, but this is incredibly elitist. Hopefully your six month old is not angling for a job or trying to attract a mate yet, so they won’t be hampered by shitty clothes.

    1. won’t be hampered by shitty clothes.

      I see what you did there.

  6. 1) I’m amazed ANYONE buys new baby clothes (not really) based on the amount of hand-me-down shit we got when our first (and second, and third) was born. And which we’ve subsequently passed on to another generation, who have no doubt passed it on yet again, and again, and again…

    Babies grow too fast for ANYTHING to wear out (except their parents).

    2) SUPERB picture and alt text! My kids never looked that….aggressive. Is that your evil spawn, KMW? Wouldn’t be named “Damian” by chance…?

    1. Did you ensure that all clothes you passed on were certified under the new regs? If not, you are a child abuser, scofflaw, and probably a monocle-wearer who cares not about the safety and health of others.

      1. Oh, hell, this was 20 years ago. We’re the reason they MADE these regulations and laws..

  7. They system works!

    At least some apparel manufacturers are opting to exit the children’s market rather than brave our labyrinthine minefield of children’s product rules. These requirements, which are arcane to trained lawyers and incomprehensible to most other people, have also forced micro-businesses focused on children’s clothing to cut back or to shut down completely. Thanks to our staff, we knew this sort of thing was coming, and with little if any benefit, but my colleagues decided to forge ahead anyway.

    1. It sure does from Mattel’s point of view.

    2. I was gonna say the same about this line – job created!!

      told me of needing to add an employee to do nothing but administer and document his testing and regulatory compliance program

  8. Please no more baby pictures of Glenn Beck!

  9. Won’t someone please think of the crony capitalists children?

  10. I’ll just start a company that produces clothes for very small adults.
    They’ll probably sue me for my obvious attempts to get around their regs and kill the children.

    1. Doll clothes. For life-sized dolls.

      1. That was my immediate thought. Strange, they fit your kid? How odd.

        1. Of course, toy regulation is probably even worse, so that’s a loser, too. Maybe clothes for child-sized statues?

          1. Surely there’s a booming market in mannequin outfits?

            1. There will be.

              Not for children! No! We’re not responsible if you dress your kids in these clearly labeled for adult mannequin use only products!

              Really! We mean it!

              1. Good luck with that. Buckyballs tried that shit and look what happened there.

    2. They’ll probably sue me for my obvious attempts to get around their regs and kill the children.

      Yep. “Warning labels are not working to prevent children from ingesting Buckyballs using doll clothing as garments for children”

      1. Beat me to it.

  11. Naked economic favoritism.

    1. Not even a fig leaf.

  12. needing to add an employee to do nothing but administer and document his testing and regulatory compliance program

    Jobs saved or *created*, biotches!

  13. According to Tony, this post against another clear example of cronyism doesn’t actually exist.

    1. You don’t get it. We all love crony capitalism. Posts like this are just to throw people who aren’t as smart as Tony off our scent.

  14. Just because none of those babies have spontaneously burst into flames, DON’T PRETEND THEY WON’T.”

  15. I’ve followed this pretty closely since 2008. I don’t think this is really a case of cronyism on Mattel’s part CPSIA was rushed legislation because SOMETHING had to be done after some toys came from China with lead paint (with no known illnesses). The new rules basically say do expensive testing on every part for every batch. Big boys can play that game. I think the regs allow others to have approved in house testing. Even without this all bigs can out compete small companies

    But because Walmart isn’t unionized Is why mom and pops are hurting. Tony told me so.

  16. My experience with laws or regulations like these has been one just as frustrating as the anecdotes in the article.

    My wife and I purchased a bunk bed for my 7 and 3 year old boys, ending up with a cradle/bed, previously used in different times by each of my two kids, that we could not use anymore. Unfortunately, this one cradle we purchased before the type was banned by the government – this is the one with the sliding side – so we cannot sell it now as a cradle, only as a child’s bed, something of an exercise in futility as few people are willing to accept it as such.

    And it is a perfectly safe cradle, mind you: The design totally addressed the problem found in cheaper cradles and makes it almost impossible for the child to get hurt by the sliding side. Yet the BROADNESS of the rule makes our cradle unsellable, now only good for kindling as we cannot even donate it!

    1. Use Craigslist, cash only, and a burner phone… In fact it’s getting to the point where we should all have a burner phone for everyday transactions.

  17. Whoa, naked kids? Where? Pics or it didnt happen!

    http://www.Tru-Privacy.tk

    1. You’re a creepy fuck, anonobot.

    2. All respect I had for you, Anonbot, has just gone out the window you pervert.

      1. I think this anonbot just put us on a federal watch list.

  18. This baby in this pic seems so angree…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.