Children's Product Definition

CPSIAChildren's ProductManufacturer StatementsProduct PresentationCommonly Recognized by ConsumersAge Determination GuidelinesOffice ProductChildren's ProductsDecorated or Embellished to Appeal to Children

Children's Product

A children's product is a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. Products intended for general use, i.e., intended mainly for consumers older than 12, are generally not considered children's products. The CPSC has issued a final interpretive rule which provides considerations for the determination of whether a products meets the definition of ''children's product.''

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Manufacturer Statements

The determination should take into account any statement by a manufacturer about the intended use of such product, including a label. A manufacturer's statement that the product is not intended for children does not preclude a product from being regulated as a children's product if the primary appeal of the product is to children 12 years of age or younger. Similarly, a label indicating that a product is for ages 10 and up does not necessarily make it a children's product if it is a general use product. The manufacturer's label, in and of itself, should be considered but is not determinative.

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Product Presentation

The determination should take into account whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger. These representations may be express or implied. Representations in all forms of instructions or advertising should be considered. Prominence or conspicuousness of statements may be considered. The product's physical location near or visual association with children's products (e.g., in a store or on a website) may be a factor in making an age determination, but is not determinative. A children's product that is packaged with a general use product (e.g., a stuffed animal packaged with a candle) is likely to remain a children's product.

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Commonly Recognized by Consumers

Products that are considered to appeal to a general audience and be equally attractive to children and adults are not considered children’'s products. However, if a manufacturer adds marketing portrayals or other features to make it more attractive to or for children than a general use product would normally be, then the product could be considered a children's product.

To assess whether a product is commonly recognized by consumers as primarily intended for a child, a manufacturer should evaluate the reasonably foreseeable uses and misuses of a product to determine how the product will be perceived and used by consumers of that product. Manufacturers could also refer to sales data, market analyses, focus groups, or other marketing studies for their analyses of consumer perceptions of products.

The CPSC interpretation also suggests consideration of factors such as:

  • features such as small size, safety features intended for children, decorative motifs associated with childhood, and play value;
  • the principal use of a product;
  • cost; and
  • whether children (vs. adults) will interact with the product.

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Age Determination Guidelines

CPSC has published guidelines on determining for what age children a product has appeal. The guidelines provide information about play at different stages of childhood, physical abilities at different ages, and so forth. How the product would be classified according to the Age Determination Guidelines is another factor in determining whether a product is intended for children 12 years of age or younger. The Guildelines are available here.

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Office Product

Most pens, or other office supplies, are usually not considered children's products. That pens or other office supplies may also be used by children does not convert them into children's products. However, they may be children's products if features are added that appeal to children.

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Children's Product

The regulatory language addresses specific examples including furnishings and fixtures, collectibles, jewelry, DVD, video games, computers, art materials, books, science equipment, sporting goods, and musical instruments.

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Decorated or Embellished to Appeal to Children

When a general use product, such as a pen, is decorated or embellished by adding certain features that may appeal to children, such as childish themes or play value, the general use product may be converted or transformed into a children's product due to these additional features or characteristics. A further evaluation would be made regarding whether, in fact, a child would be likely to physically interact with such a pen, and how such interactions would occur, including the reasonably foreseeable use and misuse of the product by the child. If a child is unlikely to interact with the pen because the theme would not be of interest, or if an older child or adult is as likely, or more likely to interact with the pen than a child, such a pen would not be a product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, and thus, would not be considered a children's product.

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