Sunday, March 28, 2010

Are Any Baby Items Made In The USA Anymore?

In general, I try to avoid purchasing foreign made goods.  I see no long-term financial benefit from transfering our nation's wealth to another nation.  This is especially true when the other nation involved is China.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware of China's civil rights violations, as well as the many international safety recalls involving Chinese-made products, including those imported to the US.  Melamine-tainted pet food and lead-loaded children's toys attack us where it hurts the most, by injuring those most precious to us.  Yet, our government doesn't do a whole heck of a lot to intervene.  Perhaps that is because we owe China a boatload of money?

Over the past couple of weeks, I've spent a good amount of time putting clothes away that friends and family have given us in expectation of our daughter's birth.  Almost without fail, each item has originated in China (the few exceptions being items made in Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand).  It was the same thing when our son was born.  In order to find baby items made in the USA, the only option was shopping online.  No local store, whether discount, specialty, or department, carried baby clothes or toys made in the USA. 

Even if one wanted to make their own baby clothes, blankets, sweaters, etc., just try to find yarn or fabric made in the USA without shopping online.  If you're like me, you'd probably either learn to make these yourself from local sources, or find someone who does and keep the money local.  As a backup, the internet is your next best bet.

For many things that, for one reason or another, I cannot produce myself (lack of skill, time, etc.), I prefer to shop online and have it sent to my home.  It saves me a trip, often there is free shipping on orders over certain amounts, and delivery services (such as UPS) are switching to more fuel efficient vehicles.  But, when it comes to clothes, yarn, and material, I'd like to be able to be able to see and feel it.

For many people, their older relatives still do not shop online.  My mom doesn't.  My parents still don't have a computer in their house!  However, she did tell me that several times when she went shopping for baby items for my son, she was just one of many grandma's looking for items made in the USA.  No one could find anything made in the USA.  Just about everything came from China.

What this tells me is that there is a market demand for baby items made in the USA available beyond the internet.  I do understand that would probably translate into more expensive baby products, as we cannot compete with companies that cut costs with the slave wages paid to Chinese workers.  It can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on baby items, especially when most infants will grow out of outfits after only wearing them a few times. 

From a patriotic-financial point of view, however, I would prefer to see people give away their old baby items to new mothers or bring them to consignment stores.  This would reduce the amount of money spent on new purchases of Chinese imports, while reducing the amount of money spent overall our of the ever-shrinking American Wallet.

If you know of any sources of baby clothes, items, toys, etc., that are made here in the USA, please pass them along here in the comments section.  Also, for those that know a bit more about raising livestock for fiber than I do, any info on good breeds for baby fibers/fabrics, please pass that along as well!

Live better, a little every day.

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