Where are the kids' clothes and toys?

February 10, 2009 5:41:12 PM PST
A new law to protect kids is leaving some store shelves bare. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law.PROTECTING CHILDREN
- Information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
- Recent Child-Related Product Recalls

Nobody wants lead or potentially dangerous chemicals in kids' toys or clothes. The law that went into effect is designed to protect kids, but some say the law is forcing them to get rid of all kid items.

If you are looking for any kids' items at one resale shop, you are out of luck. It is not a big boost in sales that's to blame for the complete lack of kids merchandise, instead it is a new law designed to keep lead and the plastic additive Phylates out of kid products.

"We have had two or three people already today asking where are all the kids items were," said Mary Gillis with the NAM Resale Shop. "And it's kind of been difficult, it's hard to tell them why."

The Northwest Assistance Ministry Resale Shop provided kids clothes to the needy and sold thousands of dollars worth of donated items before the law went into effect. Now no items for anyone 12 and under will be accepted or sold.

"We are telling them that due to the new law we are not able to sell children's items anymore," Gillis said. "NAM has chosen not to."

The law levees fines on any store caught selling kids items with more than the allowed amount of lead or Phylates. While resale shops are exempted from costly testing procedures on items, the stores can still be fined for selling items that violate the law.

"Unfortunately we are not exempt from the penalties for this so we do not have a way to test for this lead and additives in our items and we have to comply with the law," said Sara Cleveland with Northwest Assistance Ministries.

At major retailers, you will see some spots where certain kid's items used to be.

"We reacted quickly and we have gone through and removed those items from the shelves," said Barry Moseley with Target. "Some of which will be destroyed, and some will be sent to recycling."

Target's corporate offices sent orders to store managers on Monday to make sure 150 individual products were no longer on store shelves. The store we went to only had a few items on that list, but those are now gone too.

"It's a select few items and we have methodically gone through and pulled them from shelves," Moseley said.

We spoke with a small business owner who made a living selling personalized kids clothes, now her store is closed and will not reopen until changes are made to the law. So are the kid's items sold in stores now OK?

Retailers can no longer sell items that violate the law. For the most part kid's toys you see in stores are going to be fine. Both Wal-Mart and Target have taken toys off shelves that are questionable, smaller retailers may be unaware of the law and risk getting fined.

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