Baby Gear Taking a Hit on Import Tariffs?

Early this week President Trump announced a new round of tariffs that, among other things, will impact a range of infant-related products.

Baby gear that will take a hit is pretty much across the board and includes everything from cribs to strollers to wipes to diapers. Not surprisingly, most of the baby goods consumed by Americans are made in China.

No one wants to see new parents bare the extra expenses that may come from trade tariffs but it turns out that the products are a relatively small part of the total cost picture. Childcare, time away from work and food make up the lion’s share on a percentage basis.

Historically baby goods have been much more expensive on an inflation-adjusted basis than they are today. Overseas manufacturing and improvements in efficiency have improved prices dramatically over the years.

Opponents of the tariffs point out that higher prices of baby goods may tempt parents to buy gear that is less safe. It is true that baby and children product manufacturers count on the fear factor to push sales. It works. Although the vast majority of products, even at lower price levels, have passed all mandatory safety requirements, parents routinely pay much more for products that claim to be safer.

The baby gear industry remains insanely competitive and excess inventory from Toys R’ Us and Babies R’ Us isn’t helping. Amazon Prime Day saw huge discounts from big manufacturers including Graco, Evenflo and Britax, but the sales didn’t stop there.

In August Chicco greatly reduced prices on some of their leading products and Graco did the same on its Extend2Fit car seat this month.