This post was originally written in 2013, and has been reviewed and updated in 2022. At the bottom of this article you’ll find a link to our baby carrier manufacturing guide to the US market.
Baby carrier manufacturing overview
The rules about baby carrier manufacturing are complex in some countries. One of the things we do most at the BCIA is support members who make baby carriers in understanding and complying with regulations in a variety of countries.
Baby carriers, wraps, and slings are classified as “durable nursery products” in the US. This means they are subject to the statutes set forth in the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act).
The US CPSIA law as it pertains to baby carriers, in brief
Whether you sell one carrier a month or one thousand, you are legally required to meet the standards of the CPSIA, including:
- a permanently-attached tracking label (see section 103: tracking labels.)
- a postage-paid registration card.
- creation and retention of a General Certificate of Conformity.
- a third-party testing plan, including records maintenance.
- mandatory reporting requirements (found here).
- adherence to the ASTM standard relevant to your product
How to get help with baby carrier manufacturing and compliance
This is an area where BCIA members have a huge advantage over other businesses. Experts in the babywearing field have spent hours creating and refining the ASTM standards, alongside the CPSC and other governmental agencies. The BCIA leadership is intimately familiar with the intricacies of the standard, and they can help guide you through the regulations, find accredited labs that may be more affordable to the small business, and work through the testing process.
BCIA members have access to deep testing discounts, and the BCIA works hard to lend the voice of the microbusiness to the standard in an effort to make compliance affordable for as many manufacturers as possible.
Failure to comply with the CPSIA can result in severe penalties, including heavy fines and even jail time. The CPSIA’s regulations are legal requirements. They are not voluntary. You must comply or risk your business (and possibly even personal) assets as well as risk other penalties.
Joining the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance is an excellent first step in making sure you can comply with regulations. BCIA experts can help you access testing discounts, source labels, and provide a product registration service that brings the registration card price down to a level that smaller businesses can still afford.
Liability and baby carriers
For any size carrier business, you must give consideration to the liability issues that sewing baby carriers creates. In the United States, it is not a legal requirement to have insurance for yourself and your products, but if you don’t, and an incident occurs, your business and even personal assets can be seized to pay damages.
No matter what you may have read, having a disclaimer in your product sales listing will not protect you from a lawsuit. Merely saying “I am not responsible for the misuse of this product” does not actually stop someone from successfully suing you in the event of an incident that results in injury or death.
If you cannot comply with the guidelines and regulations above, please do not try to wing it and sell homemade carriers anyway. The babywearing industry is deeply committed to careful product innovation, and the choices each of us makes in compliance and safety are interrelated. There are plenty of other products you can sew at home without the risks that baby carriers entail, and you can share your passion for babywearing in other venues, like becoming a paid or volunteer babywearing educator, or retailing carriers that others have manufactured.