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Serious stuff today, craft business friends. Every year, babies and toddlers die from suffocating on plastic packaging. Today, let’s take a look at the laws surrounding what warnings you need on your plastic packaging. This is especially important for at home craft businesses, because most of us create our own packaging.
Laws Related to Suffocation Warnings on Packaging
- There are no Federal laws that govern suffocation warnings on bags in the USA.
- There are State laws that govern suffocation warnings on bags in the USA.
- States currently with laws in place: California, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
- Several cities across the USA have also adopted laws for suffocation warnings on bags.
- The major cities include Chicago, Illinois and New York, New York. There are a handful or so of additional cities in the USA that have their own laws.
- Canada has similar laws related to suffocation warnings.
- Some marketplaces (namely Amazon) has its own requirements for FBA products. Currently, Etsy has no such policy in place.
Legal Requirements for Suffocation Warnings
- Unfortunately, the requirements in each of the cities and states vary. I’m posting this information to make you aware. Now that you are aware that there are laws in place, I want you to take a few minutes today and look up information related to where you live and sell. A search on Google for ‘suffocation warning bags YOUR STATE or YOUR CITY’ works well.
- In general, suffocation warnings are required on bags that are 1 mil or less in thickness and have an opening of 5 inches or more.
- Suffocation warnings can be preprinted on the bag or attached with a label.
- Warnings are generally not required on outer packaging (like a poly mailer) because it is usually thicker than 1 mil.
- Ziploc bags generally do not require suffocation warnings because they are thicker than 1 mil.
- ‘To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriage, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.’
Many bag retailers offer bags that are preprinted with suffocation warnings. For example, this Amazon search brings up hundreds of preprinted bags you can use in your craft business. This is a quick and easy step you can take to take the liability off of your business in case an injury occurs related to your packaging.
As the world is beginning to get away from plastic packaging (like bags and straws), consider skipping the plastic altogether and offering no inner packaging or paper based inner packaging. You could even use 100% recycled papers for packaging and advertise that your company is eco-friendly!
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.