Letters to my Congressmen

This is going out tomorrow to Harkin, Grassley, and Boswell. The contest is on: whose letter will have the least to do with the issue at hand? My guess is Boswell; he rarely disappoints in this regard.


Dear (whomever),

My name is Sarah Reid, I live in Des Moines and am a constituent. I own Wallypop: Supporting a Natural Lifestyle, which is a microbusiness operated from my home. I make cloth diapers, baby carriers, and reusable household and personal items and sell them all over the state, the country, and the world.

I have written to you in the past about CPSIA, and my grave concerns over its implementation. This subject is my top priority as a business owner - it is a tremendous burden on my small business.  Enacted into law in 2008 to improve toy safety, the law's complexity and over-reaching regulatory provisions are causing significant economic damage that may result in driving my company and other small businesses in this industry out of business while doing little to improve product safety.  Congress is currently considering amendments to improve the CPSIA and I urge you to support these changes designed to bring common sense back to our product safety laws and to keep American small businesses in business.

I’m also concerned about the CPSC’s stance on babywearing.  Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) members are moms and dads as well as leaders in their industry, whose top priority is the healthy development and safety of babies and toddlers. Millions of Americans have embraced babywearing as safe, practical, comfortable and convenient.  While our members support CPSC efforts to educate consumers about proper safe babywearing techniques,   CPSC's communication with our members over the past year make us fear that the agency will undertake unwarranted unilateral action against our products.  The agency's public statements regarding babywearing (using a soft carrier) are overly broad, which may unnecessarily confuse consumers and damage the thousands of small businesses that make up the babywearing industry.

I seek your support in urging CPSC to work with the babywearing industry to educate consumers about proper babywearing techniques. BCIA is currently developing a babywearing safety education program with Health Canada and we hope to do the same with CPSC.  Please encourage CPSC Chairman Inez Tennenbaum to work with BCIA on a similar program in the US.

For the past 3 years US baby sling manufacturers have been working with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) to initiate the nation’s first voluntary safety standard for sling-style carriers. The standard, which will be finalized in early 2011, will join standards for cribs, strollers, hand-held infant carriers (car seats), bouncer seats, play yards and
other nursery products as an effective way to protect the public from unsafe products.

Baby slings are the optimal place for babies to spend time safely developing and bonding with parents in a nurturing environment. Research shows that this close caregiver attachment and stimulating, safe environment form a critical part of early childhood development. If you would like more information on this issue, I would be happy to provide details.

I look forward to working with you.


Author: sarahtar

Hi, I am Sarah, owner of Wallypop (wallypop.net) and Boulevard Designs (boulevarddesigns.etsy.com). I homeschool, work from home, and, along with my husband, raise 3 kids, one of whom has special and medical needs. Turn ons are people who are polite, honesty, and really good root beer. Turn offs are mean people and people who make my life more difficult.

2 thoughts on “Letters to my Congressmen”

  1. Boswell’s return letter should be really interesting. He’s never returned a letter to us with any amount of info in them.

    1. My Boswell letters have always been “thank you for contacting me about your issue. I’m real busy here in Washington. Don’t forget to vote for me.” Harkin and Grassley have always referred to the issue at hand in their letters. CISPA letters have always been more personalized than letters I’ve written for other purposes. I imagine other issues I’ve written about have been popular enough that they have a standard response, whereas I don’t think they get many CPSIA letters, so their staff has to actually write something. Harkin always responds faster than Grassley. Grassley almost always has a two page response, whereas Harkin’s is always about 3/4 page.

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