FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 1995
CONTACT: Rick Frost
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1166
CPSC VOTES TO IMPLEMENT CHILD SAFETY PROTECTION ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously today to
issue final regulations implementing the toy labeling and choking reporting requirements
of the Child Safety Protection Act of 1994.
- Provisions in the Child Safety Protection Act as implemented by CPSC require labels on
packages of balls, balloons, marbles, and other toys and games intended for children at
least three years of age, warning against choking hazards. The provision also bans balls
smaller than 1.75 inches in diameter for children under three years of age.
In passing the Child Safety Protection Act, Congress reported that parents often allowed
children under three years to play with toys that were intended for older children
erroneously believing that age recommendations on the toys pertained to a child's level of
development rather than serving as a warning relating to choking hazards.
The act also requires manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of small
balls, latex balloons, marbles, or toys and games containing these items or other
small parts to report to CPSC incidents of children choking. Companies that receive
information about children choking and as a result dying, suffering serious injury,
ceasing breathing for any length of time, or being treated by a medical professional must
report this information to CPSC. Chairman Ann Brown said, "The Child Safety
Protection Act and the toy labeling regulation approved by CPSC assure uniform,
consistent, prominent, and conspicuous warning labels to alert parents of a potential
choking hazard. Reporting choking incidents could provide the information
CPSC needs to save lives in the future." Commissioner Mary Sheila Gall said, "I
am pleased that we were able to resolve virtually all of the disagreements that arose
concerning the staff's original proposal so that this congressionally mandated regulatory
activity could be brought to completion."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk
of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's
jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for
information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772
or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press release through
fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the
number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information via Internet gopher
services at cpsc.gov or report product hazards to firstname.lastname@example.org.
02/15/95 CPSC VOTE ON CHILD PROTECTION ACT
Statement of Chairman Ann Brown
Toy Labeling and Choking
February 15, 1995
I am pleased that the Commission today voted to issue final regulations implementing the
labeling and choking reporting requirements of the Child Safety Protection Act
(CSPA) passed by Congress in June 1994. As Congress has stated, the CSPA assists the
Commission in carrying out its responsibility of protecting children by requiring labels
that warn against choking hazards from toys, games, balls, balloons and marbles, banning
balls having a diameter of less than 1.75 inches, and requiring firms to report certain
choking incidents to the Commission. I welcomed enactment of the CSPA.
The Commission currently enforces its "small parts" safety standard that
prohibits toys and other articles intended for use by children under the age of three
years from having small parts. The reason for this prohibition is that children under
three are most likely to suffocate or choke to death on small parts.
Before enactment of the CSPA, there were no federal requirements for labels on toys or
games, marbles, balls or balloons warning about the danger of children under three
years choking on products containing small parts marketed to children over three years.
Many parents thought existing age recommendations on toys pertain to the developmental
level of the child for whom the toy was intended. They did not recognize the potential
choking hazard from toys intended for older children.
The CSPA and the toy labeling regulation approved by the Commission assure uniform,
consistent, prominent and conspicuous warning labels on certain toys and games,
marbles, balloons, and balls intended for children at least 3 but under 6 years. These
warning labels will provide parents and others who purchase marbles, balls, balloons,
and toys and games containing small parts for children 3 years and older, with
information, at the point of purchase, that informs them of the risk of choking or
suffocation that these products present to children under the age of three years. Indeed,
between January 1980, and July 1991, nearly 200 children choked to death on balloons,
marbles, small balls and other children's products. About two-thirds of
these deaths involved children under three years. This provision will at minimal cost
assist parents in reducing that tragic toll.
The Commission also approved a regulation implementing the new congressionally mandated
reporting provision for choking hazards. It provides that manufacturers, distributors,
retailers, and importers of marbles, small balls, latex balloons, or other small parts
must report choking incidents to the Commission.
This provision will keep the Commission better informed of choking hazards presented by
children's products. Working with industry proactively to eliminate unreasonable risks is
always a goal of this agency. Reports of choking incidents could provide the information
we need to save lives in the future.
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MARY SHEILA
GALL ONFINAL REGULATIONS UNDER THE CSPA
FEBRUARY 15, 1995
I have voted today to support promulgation of final regulations implementing the
provisions of the Child Safety Protection Act. I am pleased that we were able to resolve
virtually all of the disagreements that arose concerning the staff's original proposal so
that this congressionally mandates regulatory activity could be brought to completion.
The regulations now strike an appropriate balance between the need to inform consumers of
potential choking hazards, the desire of the Commission to gain incident data, and the
realities of industry operations and practices. This outcome was in large part the result
of comments from a diversity of interests being incorporated into the final proposal.
However, it was only after agreement was reached to modify the reporting requirements and
to promulgate them as interpretive rather than substantive rules that I was able to
support the regulations.
While no proposal of this magnitude is completely satisfactory, today's Commission action
meets our obligation to the Congress and to the American public. Having exerted
substantial effort to reach this point, it is my hope that the action that we have taken
today will ultimately enhance the safety of our children.