Eagle Flexible Packaging :: Packaging and Labeling to Prevent Child Choking Hazards

Packaging and Labeling to Prevent Child Choking Hazards

To keep kids safe from the threat of choking hazards, government regulations are in place to help consumers make informed decisions about product purchases and safe home storage. Labeling rules for toys and games for children 12 and under are specified in the Consumer Product Safety Act and Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Children under 3 are particularly at risk, as they commonly put small objects in their mouths, so effective and informative labeling is an important means of communicating the hazards and intended uses of products meant for children.

Conspicuous Labels

Regulations call for labeling that is easy to find, and easy to read. It’s often found on the front panel of the toy or other product meant for use by children so that parents and other purchasers are aware of the risks. An obscure and microscopic warning on the back or bottom panel won’t be adequate—and could put a child’s life in danger.

Symbols and Words

In addition to the visibility of the label, specific warning symbols and exact wording are required. Depending on the product type and nature of the choking hazard, the words differ, but they are clearly specified in the government documentation.

Tracking

If a need arises for a product recall, items and parts need to be traceable. Tracking information is required in a permanent label that can’t be removed, and that includes:

  • Manufacturer name
  • Importer/marketer
  • Origin
  • Manufacturing date
  • Lot number

Recalls can occur when a product not labeled for small parts is later discovered to have parts too readily removed by children and small enough to present a choking danger.

Foods as a Choking Hazard

While there are many regulations regarding consumer products, the same is not true of packaged food. Very little food is labeled for child choking dangers, but this is an opportunity for responsible and caring manufacturers. Differentiate your product from the competition by taking extra steps to inform and product consumers. Here are some ideas:

  • Make sure your packing itself is not a choking hazard. Any small parts, including caps, could be redesigned to be larger than the “small parts” that pose a risk, or tethered or affixed (flip-top) to the packaging. Unavoidable risks can be disclosed on the packaging.
  • Personal care products that are used near or in the mouth but are not edible (such as toothpaste or skincare) could be labeled with their safety risks.
  • Packaged food items that may pose a choking hazard unless cut up or ground (for example) could be clearly labeled with this information and recommendations for preparing the foods for safe consumption by children.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to comply with all federal regulations regarding products intended to be used by children 12 years and under, but it is both an opportunity and the responsible thing to do to provide helpful information even in the absence of regulations. Stand out in the marketplace by going the extra mile and your customers will reward you. Give us a call or contact us to get started.