Thursday, January 15, 2009

What are children's products?

I know it sounds like a crazy question. But with the stroke of the CPSIA pen being so broad it’s an important one to ask. Do the collectibles meant for adults that are plush or dolls fall under the law? What about miniatures? How about jewelry, what’s keeping a child from wearing it? Keep in mind the following is my interpretation of various resources and I’m not a lawyer.

Children’s products defined: A consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.

“Ok, so my item isn’t primarily intended for children. So, I’m good, right?” Well, sort of. Because you see it’s the CPSC deciding what is and what is not a children’s product, not you as the manufacturer. So you can’t just blindly stick a “Not intended for children under 12” disclaimer on your item and call it a day.

Here are the criteria by which the CPSC will determine if a product is a children’s product:
#1 - A statement by the manufacturer about the intended use of the product, if such a statement is reasonable

#2 - Is the product represented in it’s packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years old or younger

#3 - Is the product commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 or younger

#4 - The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the commission staff in September 2002

#1...means to me that you can say your products isn’t for kids, but if that statement isn’t reasonable, your disclaimer doesn’t matter.

#2...makes sense and should be relatively easy to determine.

#3... seems very subjective to me. Especially relative to miniatures, plush, collectors dolls, etc.

#4... well you can read that fun little 300 pg document here, if you’re so inclined. I was not able to read it before posting about this topic, so I can’t comment on it at this time.

What about art and wall accessories? Their “use” is to look at it, not touch it. And that brings us to the question of “play value”. Well, in terms of children’s products themselves, play value doesn’t matter. It still needs to be tested for lead (Section 101). Where play value DOES matter, is in determining whether it needs to be tested for phthalates (Section 108). So your wall art and decorative accessories are children’s products, but since they have no play value they don’t need to be tested for phthalates.

By the way, the question of art and wall accessories is an interesting one to me because what it written is in direct contradiction with what I was told verbally by the CPSC. Obviously, I have to go with what’s written. Saying “Mr. X told me over the phone this is ok” isn’t going to cut it.

I’m not sure if this information is complete enough to help you determine for yourself whether or not your item will be considered a children’s product. For some of us, it’s obvious. All my products are children’s products and subject to lead testing. And for some of you phthalate testing may also be required, which I didn’t really discuss, but is an important part of the law.

Here’s my sources for this blog post so that you can determine for yourself if your products are “children’s products”:

Tomorrow is my meeting with Congressman Dent. Stay tuned, I'll be discussing that meeting and the XRF testing information I've gathered in some upcoming posts.


Lindsey said...

Even though I don't sell childrens products, I want to thank you for all of the posts you've been writing about it. Trying to read through all of the legal documents posted online about it is enough to put me to sleep, and you're doing a great job of simplifying everything. I don't think the general public realizes just how big of an impact this law will make if it goes into effect as-is.

Good luck with your meeting tomorrow!!

Petals said...

That you so much for all this information you are providing. Perhaps if I package my stuffed animals with a bottle of beer or something adult oriented it will be enough proof that they are not intended for children.

TUTU Monkey said...

good post....this whole thing is dring me crazy!! Keep up the fight...I am with ya sista!!

leilalou said...

I guess unless I have a stamp of approval for my product (or they change the law), I'll not know i guess untill they come knocking!
Thanks for the great post, it's definitely a bit clearer to me now!

Chris said...

I wanted to get your take on this comment here for wall decor:

What furniture articles are exempt under CPSC regulations? Do the lead paint limits apply to furniture whether or not the furniture is intended for children?

16 C.F.R. § 1303.1 provides that the lead paint limits apply to toys and other articles intended for use by children, as well as furniture articles for consumer use that bear lead-containing paint. Furniture articles include, but are not limited to beds, bookcases, chairs, chests, tables, dressers, desks, pianos, console televisions, and sofas. However, they do not include appliances such as ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers; fixtures such as bathroom fixtures, built-in cabinets, chandeliers, windows, and doors; or household items such as window shades, venetian blinds, or wall hangings and draperies.


Jessica said...

My personal opinion is that this particular exemption relates to furniture articles/draperies only. As part of an opinion letter written by Cheryl Falvey, nursery decor is stated as included in the testing requirements.

HOWEVER, the CPSC official I spoke to said that wall art and my wall letters for example, do NOT need to be tested because while they go in a child's room, they are not actually a children's product. (Of course, I don't have that in writing).

It seems that generally speaking, an item that is hung or may be within reach of a child or that is to be used by a child (like a growth chart for example) would be subject to testing. While other items that would be for decor only (drapes, art, etc.) are not subject to testing. There is a very fine line here with certian children's products.

Again, this is just my opinion. Thanks for reading!

Coolbabygear said...

This is just because there are too many unnecessary things sold out there that are targeted to the first time mom who doesn't want to forget to get anything essential. These things are usually overpriced and/or not essential.
1. Dreft Laundry Detergent. I know a baby's skin is sensitive but they are still human and they can use laundry detergent that costs less. All Free and Clear and Tide make perfume less dye less detergents for less $$. Plus Dreft doesn't even smell that good.
2. Bottled Water called Nursery Water that they sell at Babies r us. As if your baby needs special water only made for babies. Are you kidding me? Any filtered water is fine.