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Reporting Unsafe Pool Toys/Products to the CPSC: A Quick Guide

A pink flamingo-shaped flotation device floating in a pool.

If you have kids that use your pool, then you undoubtedly have plenty of pool toys that help them make the most of their time in the water. These toys are kept safe by the guidelines enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). They ensure that products made for American consumers, including toys, meet a base standard of safety. This ensures that you don’t inadvertently end up with a product that is a choking hazard, poses a danger of combustion, or has parts that can become dangerous. When something does go wrong, however, it’s important to understand CPSC reporting methods so you can help protect other children from dangerous toys.

What Happens When A CPSC Report Is Made

When you report a product to the CPSC, it enters their database. As an example, if you reported some recently purchased pool toys as posing a hazard they’re not labeled for, here’s the process from start to finish.

  1. Gather Your Information – The CPSC will want to hear about the incident in your own words, but there are eight different pieces of information that need to be included for your report to be actionable.
    • A description of the product you’re reporting. Be as complete as possible. If there is any kind of lot number or factory information, include that as well.
    • The name of the manufacturer, importer, or labeler. That way, the CPSC knows who to contact during the investigation.
    • A description of the harm the product caused. Whether it caused a significant injury or death or just mild discomfort, they need to understand the scope of the danger it presents.
    • The date the harm happened or, if unknown, the date you found out it happened. This can happen when a child, for instance, breaks their pool toys, resulting in an unsafe situation, but hides the fact out of fear of getting in trouble.
    • Who you are as a person; for example a parent who bought the toy, doctor who treated the injury, etc.
    • Your name and full address. This information is kept off of public databases, but is important for the CPSC reporting process.
    • An affidavit that your report is true and accurate. This is a simple statement that it is not a false report filed to try to harm the company.
    • Your permission to publish the report (minus your confidential information) on the saferproducts.gov website.
  2. Fill Out Your Report – Go to saferproducts.gov and click on either the “Report An Unsafe Product” tab or button. Alternatively, you can call the CPSC at (800) 638-2772, email them a completed complaint form to clearinghouse@cpsc.gov, or mail the completed form to:U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Attn: Reports
    4330 East West Highway
    Bethesda, MD 20814

    Use as much detail as possible about the pool toys and what was happening as the incident occurred. If you’re submitting online or via email, don’t forget to scan in your documents and upload photos. If mailing a complaint, include copies in the envelope with your complaint form.

    A pair of flotation toys floating in a swimming pool.

  3. The CPSC Evaluates Yout Report – It’s important to note that you may never hear directly from the CPSC about your incident. They cannot respond to each individual complaint, but each complaint form is evaluated, and if further investigation is needed, their agents will begin the process. This can include evaluating other reports made to the CPSC, reaching out directly to the manufacturer of the pool toys for more information, or a more intensive investigation of the manufacturer, any complaints they may have received directly, and the steps they’re taking.
  4. Your Report Is Published – If you gave your permission, your report will be published with other reports on saferproducts.gov. Even without a finding from the CPSC or a recall from the manufacturer, this serves as a resource for parents where they can view previous CPSC reporting and evaluate if they want to risk the same pool toys for their children. This publishing has no impact on the outcome of your report.
  5. Your Information Is Given To The Manufacturer – If you gave your permission, the CPSC may also pass your contact info on to the company that produced or imported the product. This gives them an opportunity to reach out for more information to ensure the incident doesn’t happen again and so that they can take what customer service steps they deem necessary. It’s important to note that whether you give your permission for your contact information to be released or not, will not impact the outcome of your report.

Parents Working Together

By reporting unsafe pool toys, you can help ensure the products available for kids’ aquatic adventures are up to the task. If you need help building a safer pool area, contact our experts for the pool safety fence and safety cover options that keep your pool beautiful while protecting your children and pets. Keep an eye on the A Safe Pool Blog for more water safety tips you can use in your pool.

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