Jan 05 2009

No more second-hand children’s goods? Say it ain’t so!


While catching up on my blog reading yesterday, I came across some alarming posts about second-hand children’s items.

A new law, going into effect on Feb. 10, will prohibit the sale of children’s items (toys, clothing, etc.) unless they have been shown to be free of lead and phthalates.


This could be the beginning of the end for children’s second-hand resale shops. How can these stores afford to pay for testing of all this stuff? I don’t know what it would cost them to test each item they have, but it’s probably a lot. I’m guessing some stores won’t be able to absorb those costs. I don’t know how much they’d have to raise prices to offset it, but it might not be worth it to certain retailers.

Update: One father of two who makes children’s toys says it would cost him $2,500 to test a toy that he sells for $75. Great.

Where will we buy cheap children’s clothing and gear? Where will the current used items go? Landfills?

And what of yard sales? Are you telling me that it will be illegal to sell unverified children’s items there? Good luck with enforcing that, CSPC.

I made a quick stop into Once Upon a Child today to see if they had any baby swings. They had none. In fact, their gear shelves were mostly bare. I didn’t take the time to ask an employee if that had anything to do with the new law. Maybe I’ll call and ask what will happen to the store.

We have a ton of baby clothes right now, and I think we’ll be well stocked until my son is at least six months old, if not older. But after that? I really hope we won’t all have to buy a bunch of brand-new baby clothes.

Perhaps the law can be amended to apply to all items manufactured after Feb. 10. If not, frugal families everywhere will certainly feel the pinch. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Posted under Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “No more second-hand children’s goods? Say it ain’t so!”

  1. that’s going to be interesting. like you said, i wonder how they will control that at garage sales. or ebay. that’s horrible…so much for frugality.

    tiffanie’s last blog post..guest post: better budgeting

  2. I read somewhere that concerned shopkeepers (of handmade toys, not secondhand items) asked about their current stock and were told that they would be allowed to sell those things. Wouldn’t that apply to secondhanders too? I mean, it only makes sense. Wal-Mart and Target are not going to have to test everything that comes into their stores; Fisher Price and Mattel will, for instance. They will test their products and then will undoubtedly raise the prices (which I won’t mind, for that sort of plastic stuff; I’m constantly worrying that Suzi’s chewing lead off her toys).

    Small business owners have been writing their legislators about this and have gotten back vague answers such as that the law won’t apply to “certain” things, but are concerned because they won’t say what exactly. For instance, it would be ridiculous for the law to apply to unfinished wooden toys. How on earth could lead or pthalates be in that?

    I feel pretty sure they’ll wait until the very last second to come up with some specific guidelines that will let small companies and secondhand sales off the hook at least partially. If they don’t, I think it will be the final nail in the coffin of our country’s economy. I wrote a post about it here: http://andersonindependent.com/blogs/mothering-without-manual/2008/dec/16/toys_crime/

  3. I’ve been reading about this too. I have a hard time believing they are going to outlaw the selling of used baby items. I mean, jeeze. Eventually those type of stores will come back though. Once everything out there has been through the testing. In like a year or so. but still… that’s a lot of stuff going to landfills and a lot of money buying new that could have been saved.

    Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet’s last blog post..Interview with Mrs. Money

  4. I think this is so sad in so many ways. First of all, how was this stuff let IN clothing and toys? Why weren’t there stricter laws in the first place to prevent things like that happening?

    And now that they are making places like Goodwill throw their baby clothes in the garbage, it’s going to hurt people that can’t afford to buy brand new clothes. Also, people that are thrifty can’t be thrifty buying used clothing. The people that like to shop at thrift stores to limit the impact on the environment are hurt by not being able to purchase, but also by the insane amounts of clothing that are going to be dumped in a landfill.

    This is just so sad any way you look at it. :(

    Mrs Money’s last blog post..Sunday Link Love!

  5. I know area families who literally cannot afford anything other than second hand except as very special treats. This would be disastrous for them. I sure hope this is planned out a bit better.

  6. hopefully the clothing that is presented by the big box stores will be tagged, so that the consignment stores have to do nothing more than put them on a hanger.

    this will take some time, though, for those clothes to circulate and go from “new” to “used”.

    Brooke’s last blog post..Sherlock Holmes on the Case

  7. Wow! That’s crazy. Once again, the big corporations screw up and the little guy pays the price. That just stinks!

    I don’t know what to make of this. But someone’s wallet’s gonna hurt, and it’s not the toy companies’!

    Jennifer @ Money Saver 101’s last blog post..Go to the Movies for Free!

  8. This scares me! Already, our Goodwill has stopped accepting donations of kids toys, but clothing too? Eeep! Our kids will have one outfit each if I have to pay full retail!

  9. I am wondering if this is going to be for none resale items as well? I use a site called Huntsville Recycle and it helps to keep things out of our landfills, people are able to donate things to families that are in need of these items instead of having to throw them at out. Does anyone know if this new law is going to effect donations to families that don’t use thrift stores? With the economy trying to go “green” this new law doesn’t seem to support that. Why would they let good items go to waste that other families are in need of? Seems as though it is going to hurt more than it helps. I’ve NEVER had an issue with second hand clothes effecting my kids, till yesterday I’ve never heard of it being an issue.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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