Amazon has several requirements and policies for their sellers and they expect them to comply. One of which is the Amazon suffocation warning. While Amazon only requires this for FBA sellers, FBM sellers should also be aware of this as some states in the U.S. require this.
In this blog post, I will explain what is a suffocation warning, which states in the U.S. require this, and what are Amazon’s requirements for a suffocation warning.
Read the entire post to learn the importance of suffocation warnings.
What is a Suffocation Warning?
You have probably seen warning signs like “This plastic bag can be dangerous. Keep away from babies and children to avoid suffocation” on products packed in polybags. That is an example of a bag suffocation warning. The bag suffocation warning is not required for all kinds of plastic bags.
The warning label is also not a federal level or U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirement.
While suffocation warning labels are not mandatory in the U.S., it is important to know that there are some states that require bag suffocation warnings. There are five states in the U.S. that require this – New York, California, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
Here are the suffocation warning requirements for each state.
|California||Has an opening of more than 25 inches||Any bag used to package items for purchases or deliveries||Bags that are used for industrial purposes|
|Massachusetts||Total size (length and width) of 25 inches and up and has a diameter of about 7 inches for the opening||Plastic or partial plastic bag for domestic use or designed that can be used as a toy||N/A|
|New York||Total size (length and width) of 25 inches and up and has a diameter of about 7 inches for the opening||Plastic or partial plastic bag for domestic use or designed that can be used as a toy||N/A|
|Rhode Island||Has an opening of more than 5 inches in diameter||Polybags that are used in households||Bags used for products that are less than 5 lbs|
|Virginia||Has a total length of 25 inches and up||Plastic or partial plastic bag for domestic use or designed that can be used as a toy||N/A|
Several cities have also required the use of bag suffocation warnings including the following:
- New York City
- Prince William County
- Big Stone Gap
- East Baton Rouge Parish
- Saint Louis County
- South Hill
Each of these cities and states has its own legislation on the size and scope of the bags used before a suffocation warning is required.
Below is an example of an actual suffocation warning text you can use.
“Warning: Risk of suffocation. Plastic bags and film can be dangerous. To avoid the danger of suffocation, keep this bag or film away from babies and children.”
What are Amazon Suffocation Warning Requirements?
Sellers who are enrolled in the Amazon FBA program must adhere to Amazon’s packaging and preparation requirements when sending their products to their Fulfillment Centers (FC). One of which is for products that are packed using polybags.
Below are Amazon’s requirements for polybags and Suffocation Warning.
- Polybags with a five-inch opening or larger should have a suffocation warning. The warning must be attached as a label or printed on the polybag.
- The bag’s thickness should be at least 1.5 mils and should be transparent
- The polybag should contain a barcode. It can be an EAN or UPC. Alternatively, it should have an X00-label and must be scannable through the polybag. Another option is an ASIN label outside the bag.
- The polybag should be sealed completely.
- When packing adult products, they should be in shrink-wrap or black, opaque poly bags.
- The polybag should not protrude more than three inches beyond the dimension or edge of the product
- The printed warning or label must be placed in an easy-to-find location and the font size should be legible and must be appropriate with the size of the bag.
- The print size labels of the suffocation warning must follow Amazon’s requirements. See below.
|Bag Size (Total length and width)||Print Size (Minimum)|
|Less than 29 inches||10 point|
|30 – 39 inches||14 point|
|40 – 59 inches||18 point|
|60 inches up||24 point|
Products that are regulated as dangerous goods whether they are fragile or not should be polybagged. All liquid products under dangerous goods must also be polybagged to prevent leaks and spills while in transit.
For products that are not regulated as dangerous goods, only non-fragile items should be polybagged. If it is a liquid product and double-sealed and has passed the drop test, there is no need to bag it.
What Happens If Sellers Fail to Include the Suffocation Warning?
Amazon has the right to refuse, repackage or return products that fail to follow the suffocation warning requirements. Apart from that, Amazon may dispose of products or prevent future delivery of additional inventory. Repackaging of products will be at the expense of the seller.
For both Amazon and non-Amazon sellers, there are also penalties for vendors or companies that fail to include a suffocation warning. For some states, it can be paying a few hundred dollars. Paying the penalty may not be something that will concern most companies. However, repackaging and forced recalls can be very costly and may cause a lot of damage to their finances.
Why are Warning Labels Important?
Plastic bags can cause suffocation, especially in children as plastic bags can cling to a baby’s face and may prevent them from breathing. Aside from plastic bags, suffocation warnings are also needed for products such as bassinets, rocking cradles, changing pads, and bedside sleepers.
These products may cause suffocation hazards to children. A warning example for these types of products can be:
“WARNING: Infants under 4 months can suffocate in this product if the face is pressed tightly against your body. Keep infant’s face free from obstructions at all times.”
The main reason why a suffocation warning is required for Amazon and other states in the U.S. is for the safety of the consumers, especially babies and children.
Aside from suffocation warning, here are other examples of important safety warnings that sellers should be aware of.
Another important warning sellers must look out for and comply with are products that are choking hazards. For instance, toys and other products that contain small items must have choking hazards warning on the box. It should also include that they are not safe for children 3 years old and below, as an example.
Please note that toys are under the gated category. If you’re planning to sell toys on Amazon, be sure to check out my article on how to get ungated in toys on Amazon.
An example of a Choking Hazard Warning can be:
“WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs of age.”
It is also important to inform consumers and users of Fall Hazard Warnings. It is mandatory for some children’s products such as baby strollers, add-on changing units, soft baby carriers, and bedside sleepers. Fall Hazard Warnings are there to remind users that children might fall while using the product.
An example of a Fall Hazard Warning text can be:
“FALL HAZARD: Children have suffered injuries after falling from changing tables. Stay in arm’s reach.”
Another warning label to take note of is the Strangulation Hazard Warnings. There are some children’s products that may cause strangulation or entanglement such as cribs, strollers, and carriages. Strangulation may lead to serious injury and even death.
An example of a Strangulation Hazard Warning can be:
“STRANGULATION HAZARD: Children have suffered injuries after the baby’s body passed through the hand rest bar.”
Providing warning alerts to consumers about the possible danger not only of the item itself but also the packaging used is essential to the safety of the consumers.
Amazon suffocation warning requirement is there for a reason and sellers are expected to follow it. Be sure to always have your poly bags labeled with this warning, as this can save a life. Do you have more questions regarding the Amazon suffocation warning? Post your questions in the comments below.