Certification means the issuance of a written Children's Product Certificate (CPC) in which the manufacturer or importer certifies that its children's product complies with all applicable children's product safety rules (or similar rules, bans, standards, or regulations under any law enforced by the Commission for that product.)
Certification of children's products must be based upon the results of third party testing. The third party testing laboratory provides the testing services and results but does not issue the children's product certificate. The manufacturer or importer is responsible for drafting and issuing the CPC.
Who must issue the Children's Product Certificate?
The importer must issue the CPC for products manufactured overseas, and the U.S. manufacturer must issue the CPC for products manufactured domestically. See 16 CFR part 1110.
The manufacturer or importer of a children's product that is subject to children's product safety rules or other standards is always legally responsible for issuing a CPC, even if a third party testing laboratory or another third party provides assistance in drafting the CPC.
To whom must I provide my Children's Product Certificate?
If you are a manufacturer or importer, you must "furnish" the Children's Product Certificate to your distributors and retailers. Additionally, federal law requires you to provide, upon request, a copy of the Children's Product Certificate to the CPSC and to the Commissioner of Customs.
The requirement to "furnish" the CPC is satisfied if the manufacturer or importer provides its distributors and retailers a reasonable means to access the certificate. You can provide an actual hard copy of the certificate to your distributors and retailers, or you can provide a dedicated website with that specific certificate on your invoice. (See the answer addressing electronic certificates below.)
Where must I file the Children's Product Certificate?
There is no requirement to file a CPC with the government.
The CPC must "accompany" the product shipment and be "furnished" to distributors and retailers. Upon request, the CPC must be furnished to the CPSC and to the Commissioner of Customs.
What if I sell directly to consumers and do not use retailers or distributors?
The law requires manufacturers or importers to issue a Children's Product Certificate; that the certificate accompany each product or shipment of products; that the certificate be furnished to retailers and distributors; and that the certificate be provided to the CPSC, upon request. Accordingly, you do not have to provide the certificate to consumers in direct-to-consumer sales.
Does the CPSC have a sample Children's Product Certificate?
Yes. There is a model of how to draft a Children's Product Certificate.
You are not required to, but you may, copy the layout and title the document: "Children's Product Certificate" and include the details pertinent to your product; or, if you prefer, you may create your own form, as long as it captures all of the requirements listed in section 14(g) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (pdf). (The model Children's Product Certificate captures all of the 14(g) requirements.)
Can one Children's Product Certificate certify that the product complies with multiple children's product safety rules?
Yes. For example, if - for a product manufactured after December 31, 2011 - you are certifying that your product complies with the ban on phthalates, the toy safety standard, limits on total lead content and lead in paint, the small parts requirements, and other applicable regulations, then Part 2 of your Children's Product Certificate would read as follows:
Sec. 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-314 (August 14, 2008) (CPSIA), Ban on Certain Phthalates in Toys and Children's Products.
ASTM F963-08, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. (You must list the specific numeric sections of the toy safety standard to which you are certifying.)
Sec. 101 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-314 (August 14, 2008) (CPSIA), Ban on Total Lead Content in Children's Products in Excess of 100 ppm in Children's Products.
16 CFR part 1303, Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products Bearing Lead-Containing Paint for Toys and Other Articles Intended for Children.
16 CFR part 1501, Small Parts Ban for Toys and Other Articles Intended for Children under 3 Years of Age which Present Choking, Aspiration, or Ingestion Hazards.
If your product is subject to an additional mandatory regulation, rule, ban, or standard for which third party testing and certification currently is required, then you would include the citation to that regulation, rule, ban, or standard as well.
The full title of each requirement is provided above for your information only and does not need to be included in your children's product certificate. Part 2 of the Children's Product Certificate is adequate if you reference the specific section(s) of the children's product safety rule to which you are certifying the product without including the full title of each requirement.
What must I base my Children's Product Certificate on?
The certificate must be based on tests of sufficient samples of each product, conducted by an accredited third party laboratory that the CPSC has accepted to perform the specific tests for each applicable children's product safety rule.
Is a Children's Product Certificate required for each shipment of my product?
Yes. The law requires each import (and domestic manufacturer) shipment to be "accompanied" by the required certificate. The requirement applies to imports and products manufactured domestically. Under CPSC regulations, an electronic certificate is "accompanying" a shipment if the certificate is identified by a unique identifier and can be accessed via a World Wide Web URL or other electronic means, provided the URL or other electronic means and the unique identifier are created in advance and are available with the shipment.
If I import children's products and the foreign manufacturer has already tested and certified the product, do I need to retest or recertify the product? Can I just pass along the foreign manufacturer's children's product certificate?
CPSC requires that certificates of conformity be issued by the domestic manufacturer or the importer of products made outside the United States. This means that an importer cannot simply pass along a foreign manufacturer's certificate of conformity. However, the component part testing regulation, at 16 CFR part 1109, allows importers to use a foreign manufacturer's test results or their component part or finished product certifications of a children's product to issue their own Children's Product Certificate, as long as the importer exercises due care to ensure the validity of the test results or the certificate and receives the documentation required by the rule.
Can electronic certificates, instead of paper certificates, be used to meet the requirements of section 102 of the CPSIA?
The Commission has issued a rule specifically allowing the use of an electronic certificate, as long as: the Commission has reasonable access to it; it contains all of the information required by section 14 of the CPSA; and it complies with the other requirements of the rule.
If I post the certificate of conformity - either a Children’s Product Certificate or a General Certificate of Conformity - on the Internet, do I need to change it for each shipment, batch, or lot of the product?
If each shipment is materially unchanged from the prior shipment, a single certificate of conformity may be acceptable, but the certificate would need to describe the date range of products covered, using either batch/lot information or other identifying information.
One Children's Product Certificate may apply to (or "cover") multiple batches or lots of productions if you have exercised an appropriate level of due care to ensure the continued compliance of each additional batch or lot of production with all applicable children's product safety rules.
Remember that although a single Children's Product Certificate may "cover" more than one shipment or unit of production if a manufacturer chooses to do so, the certificate would need to describe the date range of products covered, using either batch/lot information or other identifying information. For each new shipment or unit of production entered into the stream of commerce, the Children's Product Certificate would need to be updated to reflect the new group of products. The manufacturer of the finished children's product will need this information to ensure the accuracy of the tracking label affixed to each children's product and its packaging.
Do I have to sign the Children's Product Certificate?
No. You do not have to sign the certificate. The act of issuing the certificate satisfies the new law. Any statement that you issue must be accurate whether it is signed or not.
Are there penalties for failing to comply with the certificate requirement?
Yes. It is a violation of the CPSA to fail to furnish a Children's Product Certificate, to issue a false certificate of conformity under certain conditions, and to otherwise fail to comply with section 14 of the CPSA. A violation of the CPSA could lead to a civil penalty and possibly criminal penalties and asset forfeiture.
This communication has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is based upon the facts and information presented. This communication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and has not been reviewed or approved by the Commission, and does not necessarily represent their views. Any views expressed in this communication may be changed or superseded by the Commission.