Bag suffocation warning label texts are mandatory for all Amazon sellers and in certain US states. In this article, we explain what you must know about creating warning label files, risks, and non-compliance penalties.
Is bag suffocation warnings mandatory in the United States?
Bag suffocation warning labels is not a CPSC or federal level requirement. However, bag suffocation warnings texts are required when selling products packed in polybags in California, New York, and Virginia. As such, bag suffocation warnings texts are ‘de facto’ required for all companies selling products in the USA.
It’s worth mentioning that bag suffocation warnings are only mandatory under certain conditions:
- Size of the bag opening
- Bag volume
- Bag dimensions
- Product type
That said, trying to ‘get around’ the warning label requirement is almost certainly more time consuming than making sure it gets printed regardless.
Further, additional requirements may also apply in certain states:
- Warning print on both sides of the bag
- Repeated warning texts (for larger bags)
- Warning print size
Is bag suffocation warnings mandatory when selling on Amazon?
All poly bags with a minimum flat opening length of 5-inch (12.7 cm) must have a printed bag suffocation warning label. Further, Amazons requirements also cover the following:
- Bag warning label text print size
- Bag thickness
Amazon also provides a warning text sample you can use:
Warning: To avoid the danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.
Note that your bags must be correctly labeled before you ship items to an Amazon FBA warehouse in the United States.
Please visit the Amazon Seller Central for up to date bag suffocation warning labeling requirements and other packaging materials requirements.
Is bag suffocation warning labels required for all products sold in the United States?
Bag suffocation warning labels are, in most cases, not dependent on the product inside the polybag. That said, poly bags are more commonly used for these products:
- Home textiles
- Consumer electronics
- Jewelry & accessories
Can I count on my manufacturer to print the correct warning label?
It’s reasonable to expect a US-based manufacturer to keep track of bag suffocation warning labeling requirements. However, making such assumptions when importing products from China, Vietnam or other countries can be disastrous.
Most manufacturers outside the United States are not aware of the bag suffocation warning labeling requirements. Factories rely on their customers to provide ready-made print files as part of the product specification.
This is also a big risk for dropshippers selling products in the United States. Traders on Aliexpress.com, and other websites used by dropshippers, rarely (if ever) have the US bag suffocation warning labels printed on plastic bags. Keep in mind that US bag suffocation warning labels are not required in China.
This could cause big problems for US dropshippers who may be liable for non-compliant products they promote and sell domestically.
How do I make sure my supplier prints the bag suffocation warning?
You need to provide a “design for compliance” print file to your supplier. Keep in mind that you must also take the following into consideration when you create your file:
- Warning label text
- Print size
- Repeated warning prints
- Print position (e.g. both sides, repeated warnings)
- File format (.ai or .eps)
It’s all about being hyper-specific. You only get what you specify, and leaving anything for your supplier to decide is a gamble. Still, many importers and Amazon sellers believe that the “supplier should know” and therefore fail to provide clear print instructions.
Your poly bags should also be checked during the quality inspection. This is especially important in case your products are shipped directly from the factory to an Amazon FBA warehouse.
Which file format should I use?
Most suppliers use .ai and .eps files. I also recommend that you ask your supplier to create a printed bag sample for the sake of verifying that they have understood your instructions.
What can happen if no bag suffocation warning is printed?
In some states, the penalties are not more than a few hundred dollars. That said, it’s not the penalties importers and Amazon sellers should worry about.
The cost of forced recalls and repackaging products in new polybags equals financial disaster. Further, product liability insurance may not cover your company in case the worst would happen.
Remember that the bag suffocation warning labeling requirement exists for a reason.