As a former juvenile product business owner and now Executive Director of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), the non-profit association representing over 200 manufacturers who make 95 percent of the prenatal to preschool products in the U.S. market, I know firsthand the commitment and dedication our industry has to keeping children safe. Safety is at the heart of everything we do. By sharing our best practices, we have one goal: to provide you, the parents and caregivers, information so that children can laugh, learn and thrive in the safest environment possible.
One way we do this is by sponsoring Baby Safety Month during September. Established by JPMA, the month long celebration of pregnancy and the safe use of juvenile products was born out of a program initiated by JPMA in 1983 known as “Expectant Mother’s Day”. Back then, the JPMA provided fun, fascinating and off beat facts about pregnancy. Over the years, Baby Safety Month has grown into a full month of programming, highlighting hazards in and around the home with a primary focus of informing and educating parents and caregivers about the importance of the safe use of juvenile products.
Over the years we have highlighted and informed on many different subjects, such as safe sleep, product certification and hidden hazards in the home. This year’s theme for Baby Safety Months is “Baby Safety Right Out of the Box”. Our focus is to ensure that parents and caregivers understand the product registration card that comes with 25 different children’s product categories and the importance of sending it back to the manufacturer. It is the single best way for a product manufacturer to send vital safety information to you.
Back in 2008, a new law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed. This law put new regulations and requirements in place to advance the safety of children. One part of that law requires juvenile products manufacturers to include product registration cards in a variety of different product categories, such as cribs, strollers, play yards, and infant carriers. In total, there are 25 different product categories under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in addition to children’s car seats, under the jurisdiction of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, it’s now almost 10 years later and the return rate by consumers of these cards is fairly low. We want to change that. And by focusing on it this year we hope to ensure parents have the right information about these cards.
Many consumers believe that if they fill out these cards they will be inundated with marketing from manufactures. Plain and simply, this is not true. In fact, it is against the law for juvenile product manufactures to use consumer information on product registration cards for anything other than informing them when there is a recall or when other vital safety information about the product needs to be communicated. So if that’s what has been holding you back from registering your product, now you know, you will only be contacted for safety related reasons.
So what else might be holding you back? We’ve heard some common responses to this, including: time restrictions, not knowing the name of the product, not knowing where to send the card or that you’d rather be able to register on-line. We have you covered on all of the above.
Each of the 25 different product category products come with a registration card. The card can be found either in the box, in with the instruction manual or in some cases affixed to the product itself. The card has the product information already filled out; product name, model, identifying numbers and the manufacturer. It is pre-addressed to the manufacturer and already postage paid. All that is needed is your name and how best to reach you in the event of a recall. If you would rather register online, most manufacturers have a page on their websites where consumers can register their products. For products from Delta Children, you can register your product here. You can either use the information that is pre-printed on the registration card itself or the products come with information permanently marked on the product itself. The product should have the manufacturer’s name and contact information, including their mailing address and a toll-free phone number if available. The information should be applied to the product in such a way that it does not become illegible over the life of the product, and it must be located somewhere on the product the parent can be expected to notice it.
There may even be an added benefit of registering your children’s product – some manufacturers offer extended warranties on their products if the registration card back is sent back.
The ultimate purpose of the registration cards is to make sure that parents and caregivers are as informed as possible regarding the safety of the products they purchase. Sure, product recalls may make the morning news or may be published on a news website or in a newspaper. But not all recalls make the news and let’s face it, you are a busy parent with a lot on your plate, you just might miss the story about the product you own. When there is vital safety information to communicate, manufacturers directly contact every person that returns the registration card. So, parents’ worries of missing any recall announcements are alleviated, and children are less exposed to potentially dangerous products.
We know that many consumers, parents and caregivers receive education from a variety of sources, which is why we have worked to gain a variety of supporters to participate in this year’s Baby Safety Month. In addition to JPMA and its members promoting “Baby Safety Right Out of the Box” and the importance of returning product registration cards, we are proud to have joining us this year as official supporters of our program, NHTSA, Safe Kids, RILA, Babies R Us, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Baby Carrier Alliance (BCIA) and others are joining every week!
Together we hope to reach a lot of parents and in turn we ask that you will share this information with your own circle of friends and family. For more information on this and other important safety information visit us at babysafetyzone.org or jpma.org.