Saturday, January 22, 2011

Regulating Baby Carriers

People have been asking questions about the new regulations to the babywearing industry that are greatly affecting small, work at home based companies, so I thought I would explain some of these new regulations to help people understand what is going on.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) has put into place many regulations that are affecting the babywering industry.  These are aimed at making these products safer and easier to track in the event of a recall.

Everyone agrees that having standards to make sure babywearing products are safe is a good idea and even necessary for the future of the industry.  But unfortunately, these measures can be expensive to implement and hard for a small business to comply with.  For example, a small stay at home mom that makes ring slings is now required to put special tags and labels on all her products as well as attach product registration cards and have on-line registration available.  The rings they use will also have to be tested and proven to be lead free and soon they will also have to stress test their slings in each position the directions say they can be used.

The costs of complying add up very quickly and are simply too expensive for most small businesses.  Plus, these regulations will make it much harder for new businesses to start up since the costs are so much higher.  The babywearing community has always been full of many small, stay at home based businesses that provide a wide variety of carriers.  But these new regulations will probably lead to a lot less diversity in the babywearing industry since the number of businesses that can afford to comply will be limited to larger businesses that can absorb the costs.

The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) is doing what they can to help.  When ever possible, they are trying to provide cost saving services to small businesses so they don't have to incur the whole expense themselves.  But unfortunately, this still isn't enough to allow many of the smaller businesses to stay profitable.  Sadly, the days of the small, stay at home moms sewing baby carriers in their spare time looks like it will soon be coming to an end.

Disclaimer:  I only stated the regulations to the best of my understanding.  There may be more regulations already in affect and due to come into affect that I am not aware of.

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