The Automated Commercial Environment and Baby Carrier Imports
By Barbara Reggio, VBE
In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was made law. (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)) It includes provisions addressing durable infant and toddler products, as well as third party testing and certification requirements. The biggest impact the CPSIA has had was the product registration cards you will see attached to all durable infant and toddler products like car seats, cribs, and yes, every baby carrier legally sold within the U.S. (Durable Infant or Toddler Registration Cards)
In March 2010, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advised caregivers to be cautious about their use of infant slings for babies less than four months old. (Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies) The premise was preventing suffocation of babies, as the Infantino “Sling Rider” had just been recalled, and these slings were dangerous due to the fact that they did not promote open airways for baby and the ability to monitor the child’s breathing for the caregiver. At that time, there was no testing standard that must be met for a carrier to reach the market.
Now, the impact on the babywearing community of the CPSIA has been even greater than a simple registration card being added. Products previously able to be marketed untested now must undergo testing to conform to the ASTM International Standards. ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials, created and released a testing standard which must now be met for carriers imported and manufactured in the US after the date of September 29, 2014. (Safety Standard for Soft Infant and Toddler Carriers) This is important, because any carrier that has been manufactured after this date and does not meet the standard cannot be bought or sold legally within the U.S. This also means on the second hand market. Carriers that are home-made and have not been tested are unable to be sold legally.
You’re probably thinking this is old news, and well, yes, some of it is. The truth of the matter is that whether or not imported carriers are compliant to the ASTM standard has not been a matter that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been able to track- until now. That will all change with the final stages of implementation of CBP’s new Single Window software program, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
Now that customs entries are being filed with ACE, documentation for the CPSC will need to be filed at the time of customs entry, as the CPSC is a Partner Government Agency of US Customs and Border Protection. (Federal Register/Vol. 80, No. 162 ) This means that fewer non-compliant baby carriers will slip through the cracks and end up on the shelves of retailers within the US. Carriers that are not compliant will need to be either re-exported to return to the sending manufacturer or destroyed by US Customs and Border Protection.
What can you do as an importer, either as an individual or a retailer? Educate yourself and ask questions. Ask to see the testing certificates for the carrier you are purchasing prior to purchase to ensure that the testing standards are met. If the manufacturer refuses to provide this certificate to you to prove that the testing standards are met, do not take their word for it, and do not purchase that carrier. If the carrier is flagged by US Customs and Border Protection for CPSC compliance requirements, you will need to provide a copy of the testing certificate to your Licensed Customs Broker. If it does not exist and does not meet the testing requirements, the carrier(s) will need to be re-exported or destroyed.
Works Cited (Office)
Bradley, Veronika. “Mandatory Standards for Baby Carriers in U.S.” 30 April 2014. SafeKid.org. (http://www.safekid.org/fr/magazine-issue/issue-24/item/201-mandatory-standards-for-baby-carriers-in-u-s)
“Durable Infant or Toddler Registration Cards.” n.d. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Durable-Infant-or-Toddler-Products/Durable-Infant-or-Toddler-Product-Consumer-Registration-Cards)
“Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies.” 12 March 2010. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (https://www.cpsc.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2010/infant-deaths-prompt-cpsc-warning-about-sling-carriers-for-babies)
Office, Government Publishing. “Safety Standard for Soft Infant and Toddler Carriers.” 28 March 2014. Government Publishing Office. (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-28/html/2014-06771.htm)
“The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).” 6 December 2013. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (https://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws–Standards/Statutes/The-Consumer-Product-Safety-Improvement-Act)
US Government Publishing Office. “Federal Register/Vol. 80, No. 162 .” 21 August 2015. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Electronic Filing of Targeting/Enforcement Data: Announcement of PGA Message Set Test and Request for Participants.