Earlier today, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a press release reminding everyone in the chain of distribution of children's products, from manufacturers and distributors to resellers and retailers that many of the provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act become effective tomorrow.

Interestingly, one of the provisions of the Act that has received the least attention (most of the Act is focused on the lead level in children's toys) may have the most promise in terms of its likelihood to improve product safety: new labeling requirements.

Under the Act, manufacturers are now required (unless manifestly impractical) to put permanent tracking labels on any consumer product that is targeted for use by children aged 12 and younger. These tracking labels must identify the name of the manufacturer and its location, the date the product was manufactured, and must specify information from the manufacturing process itself, including the lot or batch number.

The immediate and practical benefits to this provision are twofold:

  1. At the first hint that a product may be defectively designed, and a recall may be needed, it will be far easier to identify which specific products need to be recalled, and concurrently, to track where the recalled products were sold. As a natural consequence, it should make product recall efforts far simpler and more effective.
  2. It will help claimants who have been injured by a defective product to identify with greater specificity the potentially responsible parties, and thereby reduce the litigation costs borne by parties with no real connection to the products at issue.
Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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