The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with protecting consumers from products that pose an electrical, chemical, fire or mechanical hazard. They also work to prevent injuries to children. Safety and warning labels are one aspect of the overall program to increase consumer safety of items such as toys, household cleaners, and infant products. Legislation such as the Child Safety Protection Act and the Federal Hazardous Substance Act has created standards for these warning and safety labels.
Toy Warning Labels
Toys have specific labeling requirements according to the Child Safety Protection Act available at the Library of Congress website. The Child Safety Protection Act requires all toys that have small parts; balloons, marbles or small balls in them to have a warning label indicating these items are enclosed. Labels must be written in English and be displayed on the front of the package. The entire warning must be listed on the front of the packaging or on any information enclosed with the toy or game. Toys and games that do not adhere to this standard may be classified as hazardous and be subject to a recall. Toy manufacturers are not required to include an age level, but the industry has voluntarily adopted this standard.
Household Cleaners and Chemicals
Household cleaners or chemicals may contain elements that are corrosive, flammable, toxic, or combustible. According to the Federal Hazardous Substance Act all items that could be accessible to children must be labeled correctly. The label must contain the name of the hazardous chemical, the name and location of the manufacturer, precautionary measures, instructions for first aid treatment when appropriate and instructions for handling the product. The phrase, “keep out of reach of children” or other similar warning is also required. Additional phrases may be required as necessary for the specific chemicals. Chemicals that are extremely corrosive, flammable or highly toxic must have the word "danger" in all capital letters. All other substances can have the word "warning" or "caution" in all capital letters. The act also requires an affirmative statement describing the danger such as “causes burns” or “absorbed through skin.” Warnings must be printed in English and be in a conspicuous place.
Infant products are subject to the same labeling requirements as all products intended for use by children in accordance with the Child Safety Protection Act. Labels must be in English and be prominently displayed on the packaging. Infant products such as car seats also contain labels indicating the correct placement of the seat and proper usage according to size and age of the infant. As with all other labeling it must be in English and placed prominently on the packaging.
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