When selling products on the marketplace, it can be challenging to determine whether products are considered adult general use, non‐toy children’s product, or children’s toy intended for 12 years and younger. Depending on that determination, relevant regulatory requirements would apply.
But how can you make that determination? Here some guidelines.
What is a General Use Product?
A General Use Product is a consumer product designed or intended primarily for consumers older than the age of 12. Some products may be designed or intended for use by consumers of all ages, including children 12 years old or younger, but are intended mainly for consumers older than 12 years of age and therefore a general use product.
What is a Children’s Product?
The interpretive rule from CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) defines a children’s product as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.
How does CPSC determine if the appropriate age grade has been applied?
There are four factors that the CPSC (Consumer Protection Safety Commission) has identified to determine if a product is a children’s product or non‐children’s (adult) general use product.
Here are the 4 factors and several things to consider when determining the appropriate age grade:
#1: Manufacturer’s stated intent (age label)
#2: Product packaging, promotion, advertising
Things to consider:
- Where is it sold or in which section of the store is the product sold?
- Is it at a store primarily intended for ≤ 12 years?
- Is it a licensed article that is targeted at ≤ 12 years?
- Is it tied in with a theme, decorative motif or other products targeted at ≤ 12 years
- What are the ages of the models on the promotional materials and/or packaging?
#3: Consumer perception
Things to consider:
- Is it commonly recognized as intended for children?
- Does it have appeal to a person ≤ 12 years?
- Does it have oversized or exaggerated / oversized features?
- What are the features of the product?
- Questions to ask re: features of the product: Does it have small sizing that would make the product uncomfortable for average adult? If wearable, does it fit an adult or a child? What materials is it made from? Premium or value materials such as gold versus enamel? What is the relative price point? What colors are used? Are they colors commonly associated with childhood (pinks, blues or bright primary colors)? Are there online reviews? Who is the end user in the reviews? Data from focus groups or other consumer research.
#4: Age Determination Guidelines (2002 or later)
Things to consider:
- Relating to product characteristics and children’s interests and abilities
- Some examples of articles that are commonly considered non‐toy children’s products are backpacks, reading books, hygiene articles, bicycles, etc.
Is my product a toy?
If the product meets the 4 criteria of children’s product AND has intrinsic play value, (i.e., features primarily attractive to children 12 years of age or younger that promote interactive exploration and imagination for fanciful purposes, including whimsical activities lacking utility for accomplishing mundane tasks; actions performed for entertainment and amusement), then the product may also be subject to requirements of toy safety standard.
For guidance on classification, products may be submitted to one of our Consumer Product Testing locations for review and evaluation.
Disclaimer: * This article is general information available to the public, provided here for informative purposes only, and should not be construed as legal guidance. Additional
references or regulations may apply.
Established in 1987, Eurofins’ Product Testing is a world leader in the testing, inspection and certification industry now with more than 400 location in 44 countries servicing products in a wide-range of categories such as toys/children’s products, textiles, food contact materials, cosmetics & personal care products, electrical and electronics, etc for Safety and Quality Assurance. Eurofins’ Product Testing is an ASTRA Preferred Savings Partner.