In My Life, I've Loved Them All

The CPSIA -or- Why I do not sell baby clothes on Etsy

I enjoy making baby Onesies very much. From a crafter perspective, they are very cute and are a small project that can be completed in an evening. From a business perspective, baby clothes are something that people will always spend money on. Stuff for babies and stuff for pets. Cute stuff, which is what I am good at. Tie Onesie by Cindy CHowever, I’m not expanding my ETSY shop to include Baby items (or items intended for Kids 12 and Under) any time soon. Namely because of the CPSIA.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) went into effect February 10, 2009.

This law bans all products designed for children ages 12 and under
which contain lead over specified limits. Items intended for children thus need to be tested for lead. The provisions are still under review on whether or not small shops or independent crafters, such as the ones on ETSY, should be included in such mandatory testing/tagging/paperwork. If an ETSY seller purchases materials that have already been tested, do they need to re-test?

Currently, the answer is still YES. And it is a good thing.

But it is more trouble than is worth my while at the moment. So for now, I’ll just continue to make Onesies for my friends, since it seems EVERYONE is having a baby these days (oh dear).

Custom baby clothes by Cindy

There is a lot of chatter on ETSY on how the CPSIA affects shops, and what consumers should be aware of. Below is some detailed answers to common questions, along with some reference sites. I hope this help others considering selling child’s products.

Question: I would like to make and sell baby onesies with iron on transfers of some of my designs and iron on appliques. However, I have absolutely no clue about all of the CPSIA rules, etc. Therefore, I am looking for a simple explanation about what I would have to do if I moved forward with selling my children’s products.

For the baby bodysuit (you can only use the term onesies® when selling if you have direct premission from Gerber to use their reistered trademark) you will need paperwork attesting to the fact the the non-exempt components have a lead level of below 300PPM. For the iron on transfers you will need paperwork attesting to the fact that there is less than 90PPM of lead in that embellishment since the government lumps transfers in the same testing catagory as paint . For now the testing paperwork can come direct from the supply’s manufacturer as long as it has all the information in the correct format as per the component testing criteria. If the supplier is unable or unwilling to supply the testing information or it is not in the correct format then you will need to send sample of each supply by batch and lot # to be tested by a 3rd party lab, at your own expense.

Next you need to create a file on each item or batch of products you produce. A batch is a collection of products that is made with all the same raw supplies that have the same batch or lot #, even if the finished products look a little different from each other. In the file you should, at the very least, include a copy of each test certificate or GCC that shows the compliancy of each non-exempt raw supply, the date the item was made, and a description of the item.

The above file should tie back to the tracking label on the finished product. CPSIA label are different they are for the purpose of tracking children’s products back to the maker of the item.

CPSIA tracking labels are required on all items considered primarily for children 13 & under made after Aug 13th 2009. This is so if there is ever a report made to the government about a product that it can be tracked back to the person that made it.
For a crafter the CPSIA tracking label must include at minimum :

  • Your company’s or shop name, or RN# (not required to repeat if able to find it elsewhere permanently on the product like on a FTC care and content label)
  • The city, state/territory, & country where the item was completed
  • If different from where made an address or website so a consumer can contact the manufacturer / designer (do not include a phone number unless you want anyone that sees your label to call you)
  • At least the season with year of manufacture or date of completion of the product
  • If you make repeats of the designs then you may also need a batch number, but only if the pieces are mostly identical looking and made of the same looking raw materials as each other.

    Interpeted from

Since your dealing with a product that is also covered by the FTC for labeling requirements you may need to change out the exsisting care and content label if your embellishments change any part of the one included by the clothings manufacturer. FTC care and content labels have required on most fiber or fabric based products since the 1970s, regardless of what age the product is intended for use by. The labels need to be on a whole host of products not just clothing, there is a list The FTC label needs at the very least:
– Your company, shop name, or RN#
– Fiber content by %
– Fiber country of origin
– Washing and care instructions

Other info may be required depending on the exact fabrics use like registered trademark info for fabrics that are followed by a ® or the international symbols for care instructions.

Interpreted from &

Question: I am looking for shops on Etsy to buy handmade products from. Some of these include baby clothing. How do I ensure the shops are CPSIA? Can vendors get proof of being compliant?

Under the CPSIA, to avoid confusion for the general populous thinking something is CPSIA approved, anyone that sells direct to the public to can not advertise that they are CPSIA compliant.

As a retailer you will need a GCC for each product and production run of a product as proof of CPSIA compliance for all of the children’s product’s that were made after Feb 10th 2009 that you choose to carry for sale regardless of if the product are coming from a mirco crafting business, a wholesale distributorship, or directly from a multi-national manufacturer.

So in the this case you will have to contact any seller here that has products that match what your looking for and first ask if they are able to provide a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) to the government specifications and have tracking labels and when needed any warning labels for their products. Some of the sellers may tell you they don’t not need to provide a GCC or other proof of testing because they are using all lead testing exempt raw materials in the product they are making. In this case they are wrong, you as a retailer still need a GCC in hand to attest to the exempt status from testing of any product you carry for resale.

A GCC needs to include:
– What the item is exactly (by description, SKU or model #) and when needed what batch or lot numbers that this particular GCC covers
– The regulation name(s) or #(s) that the finish product must conform to (ex. lead testing, small parts, strangulation hazard, hazardous substances in surface coatings, etc.)
– You company’s name and address with which person to contact that maintains the product files (basically the sellers business info)
– What non-exempt parts where tested or citing the exempt status of any conponent not tested
– What test method was used by CPSC code # or official name
– When the test(s) was (were) preformed
– Where the test(s) was (were) preformed and a record of the test mantained

+ Not needed but good to include: Information that ties the GCC directly to the tracking label

Some good reading before selling children’s products:

Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities

Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers

*Information gathered via ETSY community forums and CPSC.Gov website


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  1. I make toy theaters and just joined the Handmade Toy Alliance who is lobbying against the draconian backfire against American small business that did not cheat. I currently only sell them as sculpture for adults but would love the opportunity to market them to children. These are handmade which means every single one would have to be tested—insane!

    Comment by Tess Elliott — 4/2/2011 @ 2:01 pm

  2. I completely agree, the laws just dont seem to take into account the independent crafters… too much regulation is impeding the entrepreneur potential of artists in this country.

    Comment by Cindy — 4/4/2011 @ 4:52 pm

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