Do product safety laws still apply?
Written by Misty Henry
Updated 4 months ago

The CPSC provides some guidance for those who do not want to sell, or perhaps are selling for the cost of materials to close friends & family. From the CPSC's guide:

I donate the children’s products that I make to local charities and hospitals. Can I continue to send them my handmade donations?

"Yes, you can make and donate children’s products to local charities and hospitals, if they are made of exempted materials or materials that you feel confident do not contain lead (see Table 8) . Children’s products made of yarn, dyed or undyed fabrics and natural materials such as untreated wood or cotton do not contain lead at levels sufficient to exceed the new lead limits. "

"If your products are made for children 12 and under, they will need to be third‐party tested if you use paint or a similar surface coating. Products for children under 3 will need to be tested to the small parts standard if you create a product (such as a toy, puzzle or doll) that could break into small pieces when used, dropped or otherwise handled by a child. "

"Avoid making and donating children’s products with soft vinyl or plastic, buttons or zipper pulls, or metal jewelry or embellishment or other pieces that may exceed the lead or phthalates limits."

-CPSC Guide

When we spoke with the (at the time) CPSC Small Business Ombudsman, Neal Cohen, he had this response for gifted/donated and resold used items:

"Legally, yes. They must also be compliant in certifications and labeling. Any item entering the world of commerce (going to someone that is not yourself), must be compliant.

HOWEVER. The likelihood of there being an issue of being 'caught' for one or two items is extremely slim if you are not a business.

This is NOT to say that it is OK to "gift" items. This is NOT to say it is OK to resell "used" items to get out of the requirements. This is simply stating that if you gift something or resell something that you have used, you don't necessarily need to stress about 'being compliant'."

The Take-Away

If you are NOT a business and want to give something to a friend/family member, you don't necessarily have to freak (you are still held accountable though).

If you are NOT a business and want to donate to hospitals, same as above, though, the larger the amount of goods out in the world, the higher likelihood of "being caught".

If you ARE a business, you need to be compliant regardless of if it is a donation or not. Check with any institutions regarding their requirements and guidelines for donations to them.

More Assistance

If this was a lot, don't worry, I understand that! That's why I have created a membership where we can chat more in-depth about this and other topics related to product safety and business.

Join the membership here.

Join my free Facebook group, US Product Safety Compliance.
The Makers Community membership.
Free Checklist.
Free basic product safety course.

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