Children's products are subject to a set of federal safety rules, called children's product safety rules. Determining how your product is classified enables you to identify correctly the set of children’s product safety rules applicable to your product. The law defines a "children's product" as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.
The Commission has passed an interpretative rule with further explanation and examples. The frequently asked questions on this page summarize the rule and provide examples. If you'd prefer to read the rule yourself, you may review the Commission's interpretative rule.
What is a Children's Product?
The law defines a "children's product" as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In determining whether a consumer product is primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger, the following factors will be considered:
- A statement by the manufacturer about the intended use of the product, including a label on the product, if such 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.
- The Age Determination Guidelines (pdf) issued by the Commission staff in September 2002, and any successor to such guidelines.
You can find the law in section 108(e) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) (pdf) (Public Law 110-314), and you can find the Commission's interpretative regulation at 16 CFR part 1200 (pdf).
What is a "General Use Product"?
General use products are consumer products that are not designed or intended primarily for use by children 12 years of age or younger.
Some products may be designed or intended for use by consumers of all ages, including children 12 years old or younger. Such products would be considered "general use products."
If a consumer older than 12 years of age is as likely, or more likely, to interact with a product than a child 12 years of age or younger, then the product would probably be considered a general use product, depending upon how the product is viewed, using all of the four factors above. Products used by children 12 years of age or younger that have a declining appeal for teenagers are likely to be considered children's products.
Why is this important?
Determining how your product is classified enables you to identify correctly the set of consumer product safety standards applicable to your product.
Children's products are required to undergo third party testing and to have a written Children's Product Certificate (CPC) demonstrating compliance.
General use products are required to undergo testing or be subjected to a reasonable testing program and have a written General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) demonstrating compliance.
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.