Child Product Safety
Some of the largest companies in the United States specialize in the manufacture and sale of children’s products. These include toys as well as other household items, hygiene products, school supplies, and equipment. Parents should be aware of certain dangers among child products. For example, kids can be harmed by using products that are either unsafe or designed for older children. Child product injuries can force children to undergo emergency medical treatment, and the issue is more prevalent than one may think. For example, in 2015, over 250,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. While nearly 97% of those children were treated and released, steps can still be taken to prevent these instances from happening in the first place.What Is a Children’s Product?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), products designed or intended primarily for use by children 12 years of age or younger are specially classified as “children’s products.” These products must adhere to a specialized set of federal safety rules to try to protect children under the age of 12 – who may not possess advanced cognitive or motor skills – from harm. Product manufacturers can indicate that a product is a children’s product through the design (i.e. size, simplistic design, safety features, bright colors, decorative elements, and features), packaging, representations, marketing, and advertising of the product. Products manufactured without the aim to appeal to those primarily over the age of 12 are considered to be general use products, and they are more likely to appeal to consumers over the age of 12.
Importantly, products intended for use by children are required to undergo a certification regimen that includes several phases of testing by third parties: initial certification testing, material change testing, periodic testing, and component part testing. Ultimately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission determines whether a product can be certified as a children’s product.What Types of Products Are Certified Children’s Products?
Children’s products are more than just a broad category of toys; in fact, many people are often surprised to learn that a broad range of items can be considered for use primarily by children. For example:
- Home furnishings – fixtures that are designed, sized, and appeal to children
- Jewelry that is sized, themed (i.e. with cartoon or popular children’s characters), and marketed for children
- Board games with features that are specifically attractive to children, such as those with bright colors, childlike cartoon characters, or “junior” versions of more adult games
- Children’s science, arts and/or craft “kits” that are designed for and marketed to children
The products listed above, and more, are considered to be children’s products and must comply with stringent testing and safety standards. Items that fall below minimum safety standards can be subject to an immediate recall. Safety recalls can be administered through national organizations such as the CPSC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and more. Before you load up your shopping cart with fidget spinners, hover boards, and other popular toys, consider the facts about children’s products. If you have questions about the safety of a children’s product, or would like to inquire as to whether a particular product has been certified as a children’s product, you can contact the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission through its website.