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Small Parts Ban and Choking Hazard Labeling

Small Parts Ban

Children’s products that are intended for use by children under 3 that present a choking, aspiration, or ingestion hazard because of small parts are banned hazardous substances. The small parts ban is codified at 16 C.F.R. part 1501.

A small part is any object that fits, without compressing and in any orientation, entirely into the small parts cylinder (see Figure 1 at 16 C.F.R. § 1501.4), which approximates the size of the fully expanded throat of a child under three years old. A small part can be:

  • A whole toy or article
  • A separate part of a toy, game, or other article
  • A piece of a toy or article that breaks off during testing that simulates use or abuse by children

Components of pieces made of paper, fabric, yarn, fuzz, elastic, string, or any combination of these materials that are liberated as a result of use and abuse testing are not considered to be small parts.

The following products are excluded from the small parts ban, as listed at 16 C.F.R. § 1501.3:

  • Balloons;
  • Books and other articles made of paper;
  • Writing materials such as crayons, chalk, pencils, and pens;
  • Children’s clothing and accessories such as shoe lace holders and buttons;
  • Grooming, feeding, and hygiene products such as diaper pins and clips, barrettes, toothbrushes, drinking glasses, dishes, and eating utensils;
  • Phonograph records;
  • Modeling clay and similar products;
  • Fingerpaints, watercolors, and other paint sets;
  • Rattles, as defined at 16 C.F.R. § 1510.2; and
  • Pacifiers, as defined at 16 C.F.R. § 1511.2(a).

Choking Hazard Warning Label

Certain children’s products that are or contain small parts, balloons, small balls, or marbles must be labeled to warn consumers not to buy them for children under a certain age. This labeling requirement is codified at 16 C.F.R. § 1500.19.

Any advertising for children’s toys subject to the choking hazard warning labeling requirement must use the same warning label per 16 C.F.R. § 1500.20.


Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) requires manufacturers and importers of children’s products, subject to a regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC, to certify that those products meet the requirements of the applicable standard or rule by issuing a Children’s Product Certificate or CPC.

For the small parts ban, the citation to use in section 2 of the CPC is “16 CFR part 1501 – Small parts”.

The choking hazard warning label requirement does not need to be included in a CPC.

For more information, visit our CPC business guidance page.

Additional Information


For more information, please contact the Small Business Ombudsman (SBO) team:

Report an unsafe product