CPSC Issues Final Interpretative Rule on Definition of “Children’s Product”


On September 29, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a final interpretative rule on the meaning of “children’s product” as used in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Understanding the difference between a “children’s product” and a “general use product” is critical, since the CPSIA subjects children’s products to stringent lead limits, the tracking label mandate, and third-party testing and requirements, among other requirements. The issuance of the interpretative rule comes at a time when the safety of children’s products is receiving more scrutiny from the federal government and the CPSC is assessing record penalties for violations of federal product safety laws...

The final rule represents a notable shift by the CPSC away from factors that demonstrate the manufacturer’s intended customer base for a particular product (by looking at factors such as how the product is labeled, advertised, and sold) to a greater focus on the nature of the product itself, that is, whether due to its size, decoration, functionality, etc., it is more likely to appeal to children under 13 than to older consumers. Thus, manufacturers, importers, and retailers of consumer products should reanalyze their products in light of the new interpretative rule and, based on the new rule, should develop a reasonable rationale for how they classify their products.

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