Navigating Baby Product Safety Information: Top tips to making safe product decisions for you and your baby
When you find out you are going to have a baby, nerves and excitement mix as you celebrate a new life coming into the world. Then you quickly get down to business, making a note to cancel that wine tasting on Saturday. Soon you get to the fun part: building your baby registry! You think, “Ok, who doesn’t love online shopping and little baby clothes?” The fun starts to fizzle as you become overwhelmed by this new world of baby products. As you search, you realize there are more products than you could imagine and so many versions of each one. How are you to know what products are safe? And what is this new language of acronyms…“ASTM”, “CPSC”, “JPMA” and “AAP”?!
Don’t you worry! We will share a few tips and some clarifying information to get you comfortable!
First off, what do I need?
This is personal to you and your family and will take a bit of research to help you decide how you want to care for your baby. Budget, lifestyle, values and space all go into these decisions.
Things you may want to decide before building your registry are:
- Will I nurse, pump, and/or formula feed? This will help you decide if you should focus your product research on nipple pads or bottle nipples.
- Will we room share with a bassinet? How and where you will place your baby for sleep and naps is an important safety topic and product price points vary widely.
- Are there any chemicals I want to stay away from? There is a growing number of certifications that test for a wide variety of materials. If something is personally important to avoid, there may be a certification you can easily search.
- Is the trend all over my social feed for me? A lot of people are saying you “need” a lot of things that were game changers for them. Make sure they line up with what you want for your baby. Every baby and every family are different and different things will work for different people.
- And one that was personal to me… do I really need the leatherette handle on my stroller? (My answer was, for some reason, YES!) Some things you will want to add because they are cute or fun!
OK, I have a lot of questions. Where do I go for answers?
Boppy puts the safety of your family first. We have partnered with safety organizations and worked closely with associations to ensure the most up-to-date safety information. Here are some of the groups we look to for information and a little about them:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Created with the goal to keep young people mentally, physically, and socially healthy the AAP is a group of medical professionals with over 30 committees that develop positions and programs on topics like injury and poison prevention, nutrition, and more. They work alongside governmental groups to weigh in on child health issues and make recommendations on child safety legislation. For scholarly journals and research information, check AAP.org. For more consumable tips check out their partner website, healthychildren.org. Boppy follows AAP guidelines for safe sleep communication.
Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)
The CPSC is a federal agency that aims to protect us and our kids from unreasonable risks of injury or death from the products we use. They do not only focus on juvenile products but are a great resource to check if a hand-me-down product has been recalled, or report an incident.
The CPSC informs consumers and manufacturers on safety standards and product regulations while enforcing regulations they’ve set. The CPSC is in charge of recalls for baby products.
American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
This is a global nonprofit that develops and sets standards for consumer products. They often expand on existing mandatory government standards. The ASTM develops guidelines in a committee format with input from engineers, consultants, federal government representatives (like the CPSC), manufacturers, retailers, test labs, consumer advocate groups and consumers themselves. The ASTM looks at the ways consumers use (and misuse) products to set standards and create warning labels for them.
Not all product categories have ASTM standards, but if it does, and that product meets them, it will usually be communicated in partnership with an ASTM number.
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA)
JPMA is an association for manufacturers in the baby and kid space where manufacturers can work together. JPMA promotes the industry and the safe use and selection of juvenile products. Boppy is a member of JPMA.
JPMA has a certification seal meaning that a manufacturer has gone through an extra set of testing above the standard requirements set by the government. Every product a manufacturer with the seal releases must meet the standards of the JPMA and the ASTM. These products have to be tested every year.
Note: if a product doesn’t have a JPMA seal, it doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. A lot of trusted brands have opted not to join the association and not all products can be certified by the JPMA, but still must meet federal safety standards.
Boppy has partnered with First Candle for many years. First Candle is committed to ending Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths while providing bereavement support to families who have experienced a loss. It is a scary thing to think about, but a great resource for safe sleep when choosing what products you will and will not need for sleep.
Kids in Danger (KID)
Kids in Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization fighting for product safety. They have a well organized hub of information that is accessible and educational with easy checklists in many areas.
Final hot tips:
Always purchase from an authorized retailer. Counterfeits do not go through the same testing and quality standards as the brand you trust. Make sure you are getting the real deal.
Always read directions and follow warnings. Do not cut off warning labels, so they can inform secondary caregivers too! Products are made and tested for proper use and the safety of your baby may be at risk from misuse.
Register your products to stay informed. Many products come with a registration option. It is typically quick and worth it so you don’t miss any important safety updates about that product.
Make sure products are in good condition. With more reseller sites than ever, it can be easy to get a used product. Ensure its quality and be sure to check for any recalls before using it with a baby.
Use the affordable resources available to ensure safety. From free car seat checks to company FAQs, people are here to help you learn on your parenthood journey. You are not alone and getting help is important.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are common. Seek help if needed. Taking care of yourself is an important step in taking care of your baby too.