The Consumer Product Safety Commission published its final rule on what items are considered children’s products under the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which included heightened safety requirements for kids’ products.
The CPSIA defined a “children’s product” as “a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger,” with four factors that must be considered “as a whole” to determine whether a product is primarily intended for that age range. The factors include a statement by a manufacturer about the intended use of the product, including a label on the product if the statement is reasonable; whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger; whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger; and review of the Age Determination Guidelines issued by the CPSC in September 2002. The CPSC’s final rule is intended to clarify those factors. For example, the CPSC said it will interpret the term “for use” by children to mean that “children will physically interact with such products based on the reasonably foreseeable use of such product.”
When analyzing whether a product is intended for use by children ages 12 or younger, the CPSC said it will consider whether the product is sized for that audience as well as the express and implied marketing claims made about the product, and the product’s physical location near other products intended for a specific age group. The agency also provided examples of products that it will consider to be children’s products, including sports and recreation equipment, jewelry, CDs and DVDs, books and magazines that match the cognitive abilities and interests of children ages 12 or younger, and furnishings and fixtures.
To read the CPSC’s final rule, click here.
Why it matters: Retailers, manufacturers and advertisers should already be in compliance with the final rule, which took effect when it was published in the Federal Register on October 14. The final rule has broad reach and covers a wide range of products, one of the reasons why two of the CPSC’s five commissioners voted against it. Commissioner Nancy Nord said the “final rule lacks useful guidance for the staff and even less clarity for the regulated community,” and she criticized it for being overly broad.