The Business of Parenting
Last Saturday, we launched an occasional series on the business of parenting. The first installment was about how entrepreneurs and retailers are trying to serve the growing number of parents who are spooked by the potentially negative health effects of chemicals in everyday household items. Last year's recalls of lead-laced toys, not to mention Aqua Dots--the craft toy that when swallowed put several kids in comas--has heightened awareness and concern over the chemical components of everything, not just toys.
One thing that came up in reporting was the high price that parents are paying for "peace of mind" of buying toys, clothing, furniture, etc. that are chemical free. For example, many parents cannot afford an $18 glass baby bottle and a $300 crib mattress made of organic cotton.
Obviously, just because you can't afford some of these alternative products doesn't mean you are any less interested in keeping your kids safe.
The manufacturers and retailers of these products say their higher prices reflect higher material and production costs. They argue that just as people are willing to pay more for organic produce, they will pay for organic bedding or baby food.
That may be true, but vast numbers of people can't afford to spend more on organic produce and don't.
What are your thoughts about this? Should retailers and manufacturers of these alternative products do more to make them more affordable? Or do you think some of these concerns are overblown?
Just an FYI: future installments of the series are going to touch on services for harried parents and the availability of quality child care. Any ideas or experiences you want to share that relate to those topics are welcome, as well as any ideas for future stories.
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