Children can easily be harmed if the product they use is unsafe. Therefore, there are many regulations on the market, ensuring that toys and other children’s products do not put children in danger. One such regulation is a requirement for a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) on the US market.
What is a Children’s Product Certificate?
A Children’s Product Certificate, or CPC in short, is a document that allows children’s products to be sold in the US market. It is required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and certifies that your product complies with all the obligatory safety rules. Unlike other certificates, it’s a document that needs to be created by the importer, not an outside party. If you’re interested in selling children’s products on the US market, the CPC is a must.
Why is the CPC needed?
The Children’s Product Certificate is mandatory when importing and selling items for kids in the United States, and it’s impossible to do so without it. If the importer fails to obtain the certificate, the import might be seized by US customs, freight forwarders might refuse to ship the products, and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can issue a forced recall. Both stationary and online stores such as Amazon will likely reject your products as well. It’s quite clear that there’s no way to find success in the US children’s product market without the CPC.
At the same time, there are numerous upsides to complying with the CPSIA. First of all, the certificate and tests ensure that the products are safe for the children using them. You will also be protected in case of any accidents and violations. The CPA also shows the consumers, which are mostly parents, that your product can be trusted.
What products need it?
All products intended for kids under the age of 12 to be sold in the US need certificate. Some examples are plastic and plush toys, dolls, children’s clothing, accessories and jewelry, children’s furniture, and toy vehicles. Each product has to have its separate certificate. A single product with multiple colors needs one certificate only, but each color variation needs to be tested separately.
The CPC doesn’t have to be issued with every incoming order of the same product. It is needed, however, when:
- Importing a new product
- Importing a different version of the previously imported product
- The supplier or manufacturer has changed
- The product was re-tested
Additionally, it should be remembered that the CPC is only applicable in the United States. It also doesn’t have a specific mark to be put on the product. The UL company offers a special UL Toy Safety Certification Mark to indicate that the product is safe.
How to obtain a CPC?
An important thing to know is that the CPC doesn’t always have to be obtained by the importer. If the item is produced in the US, it’s the manufacturer’s job. However, if you import products from other countries intending to sell them in the US, you must make sure all the products are tested and certified.
Unlike many similar documents, the CPC needs to be created directly by the importer. When drafting it, the first thing to do is familiarise yourself with the regulations that your product is expected to comply with. The criteria are set according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Once you know what needs to be checked, the next step is to hire a third-party lab, accepted by the CPSC, to check whether the product abides by all safety laws.
That being said, it’s the importers’ job to write the document. Here’s what it needs to include, according to the CPSC:
- Description of the product
- List of applied CPSC standards
- Importer information (US company name, US address, e-mail, phone)
- Contact information of the person maintaining the test report (name, address, e-mail, phone)
- Manufacturing location (city, province, country) and date (month, year)
- Testing location (city, province, country) and date (month, year)
- CPSC accepted third-party lab testing company (company, contact person, address, phone, e-mail)
A list of CPSC-accepted labs, as well as up-to-date examples of the CPC document, can be found on the CPSC website.
How much does it cost?
The Children’s Product Certificate itself costs nothing, but it needs proper lab tests to be accepted, as previously mentioned. These can cost from a couple of hundred to even thousands of dollars. The price depends on a handful of factors, like the used materials, components, and colors.
If you’re interested in importing and selling children’s products in the US, the CPC is essential. To obtain it, make sure to research all the needed steps and prepare your document. When your product passes all the necessary tests, you will be able to sell it anywhere in the US, having made sure that all children using it will be safe.