Is It a Toy? We May Find Out Soon.
Think you know a toy when you see one? We should soon find out if the Consumer Product Safety Commission agrees with you.
At last month's PPAI Product Safety Summit in Denver, CPSC Director of Regulatory Enforcement Mary Toro told attendees that the Commission is working on new guidance regarding toys. The implication for suppliers in the promotional products industry is significant—whether "executive toys" like stress relievers, puzzles and desktop games will fall under the CPSIA toy definition. If these products do fall under CPSIA, the law requires that they undergo much more expensive testing than other children's products.
Ever since the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was signed into law by President Bush in August 2008 there has been controversy about the definitions that Congress wrote into the Act for children's products and for toys. For children's products Congress said that the product had to be "intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger." For toys, Congress left out the word primarily stating simply that "the term children's toy means a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child 12 years of age or younger for use by the child when the child plays."
In September 2008, at the first public meeting CPSC held after the law was enacted, I posed a question to CPSC senior staffers about executive toys and specifically about stress relievers. Another attendee asked about an executive basketball hoop that mounts on the back of an office door and is distributed as a free gift with Quervo tequila. Neither one of these examples is sold for young kids, particularly the liquor promotion. Cheryl Falvey, the chief legal counsel for CPSC, said that the staff would have to consider these questions carefully but noted that because Congress didn't say they had to be primarily for 12 and under that it would be difficult question. She also added, "..as a mother I can tell you that it's likely they'll end up at home in the toy box."