Will Your Favorite Handmade & Import Toys be Illegal Next Year???

I’m so angry I don’t even know where to begin.  These are my least favorite types of posts to write because I feel so wrapped up in the frustrations of what is and is not considered to be safe in this country.  I love my country.  I hate to knock it.  But no person or country is ever perfect, and fortunately here in the U.S. you’re allowed to say so, to do something about it.  So this weekend when I read a post on another mommy blog, I knew I had to do something.  

Saturday afternoon I received an email from Cheri at For Your Bug-a-Boo wondering if I’d seen Kathleen’s latest post on Katydid and Kid.  I had.  I was still pretty ticked off.  Kathleen let her readers know there’s a new law on the horizon, one that will affect small toy makers across this country as well as toy makers who import to the U.S.  I’m not talking about big toy companies who get their toys from China either.  I’m talking about your grandma who crochets dolls and sells them at her local craft shows for a little extra cash having to stop because it’s suddenly illegal unless she pays a $4,000 testing fee per toy to make sure she’s not slipping lead into the mix.  I’m talking about all these great online toystores we’ve all been visiting in preparation for Christmas not being able to sell us the cute little German wooden toy because that small store can’t afford to have every single type of toy tested before they sell it.  $4,000 a pop.  

According to The Handmade Toy Alliance, these laws will be enforced in 56 days.  That means next year at this time, there will be much, much fewer online toystores out there that we’ve learned to trust after last year’s huge toy recall mess.  Here’s who else The Handmade Toy Alliance says will be affected:

A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.


A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.


A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.


And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

Can you just choke on the irony here?  We, the United States, who allow small amounts of lead in our children’s candy, who for the most part find nothing wrong with pthalates being present in teething rings or strange and unnecessary chemicals being added to our baby formulas, have suddenly decided that we are better at detecting harmful toys than the European Union, who has sadly been outdoing us in these areas for years already.  The U.S. has decided that the Made in China plastic stuff is somehow safer than all those toys my grandfather lovingly made for his grandchildren in his garage using hardwoods and untainted paint.  

No small toy store wants unsafe toys on their shelves.  Several have already voiced their desire to comply to the growing safety standards – but at the cost of testing per toy, small companies simply will not be able to compete with the big toy manufacturers.  Hence, they may very well go out of business leaving us as parents with fewer choices for truly unique and trusted toys.  The Handmade Toy Alliance has a list of ideas they’d like to see implemented to ensure safe toys without the exorbitant testing costs.  You can read about them here.

This leaves me to wonder where the big toy companies are in all of this.  After last year’s toy scare right before Christmas and all the millions they no doubt lost to recalls and to these same small toy manufacturers we’re speaking of snuffing out, one can only wonder what part could have been played by big manufacturers with a lot more money in their back pocket.  

Please excuse my harshness – I know I don’t normally write long scathing posts where I rake anyone over the coals.  I believe in playing fair, and in this case what we’re playing is hardball.  I know my readership is loaded with other mommy bloggers who believe like I do.  It’s why we all get along and why we visit each other’s blogs regularly.  It’s why we have community.  I’m asking you to please pass this information on to your readership as well.  You can quote me, I’m sure Kathleen at Katydid and Kid would be happy to let you quote her, or you can write your own post and use the links I’ve left here.  

I spent some time this morning writing to my congressman and both my senators.  I emailed the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) and I signed the petition.  Now I’m passing the information on to you.  Please do the same.  I don’t want to have to make my own toys (illegally) next Christmas.  I don’t want to see all my favorite online toy stores shut down because there’s nothing legal to sell.  

Below are several links for you to use.  Feel free to pass them on, email them to your friends and family, and to use them to contact your own congressmen and senators.  And thank you for letting me share with you.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, us mommy bloggers seem to stick together.

Katydid and Kid’s Article

The Handmade Toy Alliance

Write to your Congressman

Write to your Senators

The letter you can use

Online Petition (After signing the petition, they request a donation.  Whether or not you donate is totally up to you.  You’re still on the petition either way.)

Online Toy Stores dkMommy loves who may very well be affected by the passing of this law:

Bambino Land

Bella Luna Toys

Down to Earth Toys

For Your Bug-A-Boo

Free Market Organics




Maple Grace



Three Sisters Toys

Wild Dill

If you are an online toy store who will be affected by this law passing, please email me at themommyspot at gmail dot com or leave a comment here to tell me who you are.  I’ll gladly add you to this list.  I think it’s very important we support you all.



12 thoughts on “Will Your Favorite Handmade & Import Toys be Illegal Next Year???

  1. Diane, you post was so great, to the point and fiery! I am so happy you posted about this and hope that your readers will also sign the petition and write to their congresspeople about repealing this law. I truly feel this has gone to far, and although I didn’t write about it in my post, I think some of the big toy companies have something to do with it, since they were shafted last Christmas due to all of the toy scares. As someone who is thinking of opening up an Etsy shop for handmade children’s things, I shudder to think of what the future may hold for fabric toys I may create. But I’m willing to thumb my nose at this “law” in any way. I’ll find a way to both make/sell and also buy handmade, law or no law. It’s so ridiculous the things that our elected officials drum up in their heads all in the matter of keeping us safe. They honestly need to focus on toys imported from certain areas of the world, but I guess that may be considered profiling.

    Ok, I’m coming down off the soapbox now! Thanks again Diane for posting.

    Kathleens last blog post..Winner: The Golden Goat Soap/Lotion

  2. Hi Diane, Thank you so much for your post! I too signed the petition and wrote letters to my congressman and senators. I also passed on the petition link to friends and family urging them to sign. Among the wooden toys I sell at For Your Bug-A-Boo are some wonderful handcrafted teethers and rattles from New Zealand and I was just thinking last night that if this law continues as it is written, I will no longer be able to sell them because I doubt very much that the small company will be able to pay for the U.S. testing requirements. In fact, more likely than not, I will no longer be able to sell any of the great wooden toy I have in stock :o(. And,… these are just the kind of toys we buy for our 3 year old son and wish to continue buying for him!


    Let’s keep these wonderful handmade toys available for your children!!

  3. WOW!!! They are just dumping peoples creativity right down the drain!!! These are talented people who make these toys!! why would they want to ruin someones creativity!! I’m with ya all the way on supporting this!

    (ladykort at comcast.net)

  4. Thanks for bringing attention to this truly idiotic idea. I’ve been reading about this and thinking that it has to be some kind of prank or lame joke. Seriously…the whole reason that most of the small toy manufacturers got into business was to offer safe alternatives to toys that continuously have to be recalled by their own manufacturers because of toxicity and safety issues. And now someone (I think we can all correctly guess who is behind this) is questioning their safety?! I’m all for making sure that the products that I buy are safe, but there has got to be a better solution. Well, I’m off to make more Happy Fun Dough…at least until I hear the coppers beating down the door.

  5. I too just signed the petition. It’s completely mind boggling how they could think passing this would be good for our children and our country. Putting small family run and small business owners out of work, stopping a stay at home Mom who has a talent for creating unique toys, and forcing us to only shop from Big Corporations who can afford to pay the steep price of testing. Hope everyone’s kids had plastic mass manufactured toys on their wish list next year.

    What they need to do is stop importing from countries that don’t have stricter laws on what can and can’t go into manufacturing of products. Maybe losing Americans business might make them change some laws and make not only our kids safer but any who their products are sold to.

    I really hope they rethink this.

  6. I have already signed the Petition (and even made a donation), emailed CPSIA, wrote to my State Senator (Diane Feinstein) and Congressman (D. Nunes). The best way to be heard is to contact your State Senator(s)and Congressman NOW and tell them to vote NO!

  7. It appears that this legislation will also affect handmade clothing and blankets. I make baby toys and clothing and sell locally. My plan was to begin selling on-line, but I delayed that idea pending the outcome of this legislation. So, yes, I could be affected from the selling side, but I also seek out handmade products when shopping, so my buying choices will also be limited. I know the care I put into my products and I believe others do the same, so I believe I am getting a better product when I buy handmade.

    I am happy to see this is getting more publicity here on the blogs. People tended not to believe me when I talked with them about it.

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