Mamanista! » Eco-Friendly, Made in the USA, Organic, Safety, Socially Conscious » Contraband Sock Monkeys

Contraband Sock Monkeys

I just love this sweest, handmade sock monkey from Craftsbury Kids. He’s super cuddly and squishy, and he was handmade in the USA from fabric socks that were made in the USA.

Yet…in less than two months, it would be illegal for Craftsbury Kids to sell Calypso the Sock Monkey. Congress had the best of intentions (making toys safer), but they passed a flawed bill that will limit consumer choice and drive handmade toy manufacturers out of business.

A new law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is going into effect shortly, and it includes a ban not only on toys that contain lead or phthalates, but also on toys that have not been independently verified to be in compliance with the ban.

CPSIA  mandates third-party testing and certification for all children’s products and requires manufacturers  to permanently label each product with a date and batch number. And there are no common sense exceptions. For example, the makers of Calypso the sock monkey would need to pay thousands of dollars for third-party testing to verify that fabric socks do not contain lead or phthalates.

The Handmade Toy Alliance has pointed out that craftsmen turning out small batches of handmade or custom toys cannot afford the thousands of dollars it costs to secure a third-party certification. The law covers not just “toys” but anything that might by used by children. So that handmade fabric doll you bought at the craft fair or the handknit baby sweater you found on Etsy would be illegal to sell under the CPSIA act.

Our friends at Craftsbury Kids, one of our favorite sources for handmade toys, alerted us to this problem:

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And 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. Toy makers won’t be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children –in essence– the entire children’s industry will be as well.

The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys made by small toymakers will no longer be legal in the USA as of February 10, 2009.

Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let’s amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

Unless CPSIA is amended, our choices as consumers and parents will be severely limited. If only large corporations can afford to comply with the act, it will become harder and much more expensive to purchase traditional handmade wooden and fabric toys.

All of those wonderful handmade children’s products you find on Etsy, Craftsbury Kids or at local craft fairs would be illegal under CPSIA. Check out Etsy’s Information Page for more details on the unintended consequences of CPSIA.

Here’s what you can do to help save handmade toys and the jobs of American artisans:

Sign the Petition:

Write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use this sample letter or write your own:

Vote to modify the CPSIA on
The Top 10 Ideas will Be presented to President Obama on Inauguration Day.

Join the Save Handmade Facebook Group – Now over 2,500 Members Strong!
Here you can post comments, and access videos and news updates about the issue.

Join the CPSIA information group:

Written by

Debbie Bookstaber started Mamanista in 2007 with her friend Candace Lindemann. Debbie and Candace also are the co-founders of, which empowers bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. Through their annual awards, recognizes bloggers who effectively use social media for social good. Debbie lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and two young sons. She's an active volunteer in her community and a working mom. Debbie is a partner at Element Associates and the Social Media Director at Child's Play Communications. You can follow Debbie on Twitter @buzzmommy or meet her at a future blogging or tech conference, where she frequently speaks about social good efforts, SEO or affiliate marketing.

Filed under: Eco-Friendly, Made in the USA, Organic, Safety, Socially Conscious · Tags: , , , , ,

18 Responses to "Contraband Sock Monkeys"

  1. Thanks for highlighting this issue. I make handmade children’s products (hair accessories), so my shop too will soon be shut down. It’s so awful that this law will shut down all those who were giving us an alternative to the mass-market/made-in-China option leaving us with… mass-market/made-in-China!

  2. whats going on i think is realy so worng and well just think if there going to band home things toys and so on the next thing we now it be grand mams homemade cookies and ent of crafts and arts in the schools and so on we as american need to stand up and realy put are say in this home made toys i tell you i played with a lot of them as a kidd and well i’m still liveing and well i think thay are safe so all we can do is try are best and get this dumb law not to pass or get it over turned thats what needs to be done and well i’m doing what i can do to help pass a long info so that well every one will know abt this i got a post on my page for this and on my i’m thing i have a message and every where i go here i well let others know.

  3. Thank you so much for spreading the word to your readers!

  4. […] As the CPSIA is written, it will force local artisans to close their shops, threaten small manufacturers and indepenent retailers, and take choice away from the consumer. Here’s how you can help (Hat Tip: Debbie at Mamanista): […]

  5. Kathleen says:

    This doesn’t affect just toys. Toys are only 20% of the children’s products market and focusing on that to the exclusion of the law’s impact on education and apparel is unwarranted. Consider expanding your reading to sources with much greater credibility. Thanks.

  6. While I voted at and do hope it turns out to be productive I don’t feel it is enough. President Barack Obama actually has a site at . There is a section marked Open For Questions. The most popular concerns will be addressed by this team! Right now this issue is NOWHERE near the lead…people need to get over to .

  7. Cynthia says:

    CPSC Spokeswoman Chastises ‘Mommy-Bloggers’ On TV

    Did you see the video from Baltimore Channel 11 where, for the first time someone from CPSC is interviewed on air? Yep. She disparages ‘mommy-bloggers’ for spreading ‘misinformation’ on the internet! Do you believe this? (Of course, the poor sacrifical lamb has already resigned, her last day is tomorrow) Gee, why do you think they picked her to go on camera?

    There is a closed door Congressional Staffer meeting tomorrow about CPSIA. Today and tomorrow would be a REALLY good day to CALL, email and FAX everyone in congress you can think of as well as the CPSC.

    We would also appreciate you continuing to spread the word to go to http://www.savekidsresale and Click! to vote (the petition has over 70,000 signatures) as we intend to print out all 500 pages and distribute it to Congressional members tomorrow. As you know, the CPSC has done it’s best to quell the uproar our little corner of this devil in diapers that is CPSIA by their infamous ‘Press Release’.

    Thanks so much! Here’s the video

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