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In 13 August 2018, the Health Canada published a letter to industry regarding the upcoming compliance check on teething necklaces worn by child under three years of age. Samples taken from the market will be evaluated against the performance criteria for their safety related to strangulation, choking and aspiration hazards. Importer, manufacturer or retailers are responsible for the safety of the products they imported, produced or sold in Canada.
Health Canada considered the existing safety standards and from other regulations that address similar hazards, and concluded four performance criteria as follows:
Performance Criteria of Teething Necklaces
Shall meet both tests
1. ASTM F2923-14 Standard Specification for Consumer Product Safety for Children’s Jewelry
- Section 13.1 - Breakaway Tension Test
- The necklace loop must separate at a load below 22.2 N instead of the 66.6 N (15 lb) force indicated in section 13.1 of this standard
2. ASTM F963-17 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety
- Section 188.8.131.52 - Cords, Straps, and Elastics Containing a Breakaway Feature
- To prevent caregivers from having to attach the necklace using alternate means, such as the use of a knot.
Chocking and Aspiration
3. Toys Regulations (SOR/2011-17)
- Section 7 - Small parts before and after the reasonable foreseeable use tests specified in Health Canada Laboratory Method M01.1
- A force of 4.45 N is applied to assess whether the necklace or a separated part can fit in the small parts cylinder illustrated in Schedule 1 of the Regulations.
4. The following warning or its equivalent must appear on the product or its packaging in English and French:
WARNING! Strangulation hazard. Adult supervision required at all times. Always remove for sleep.
MISE EN GARDE! Risque d’étranglement. La supervision d’un adulte est requise en tout temps. Toujours retirer pour dormer.
Health Canada emphasized that meeting the performance criteria does not mean that the product is safe, but failing to those criteria is a strong indicator that the product would be considered a danger to human health or safety. Besides meeting the performance criteria, the teething necklaces should also observe other regulations based on their designs and functions, like product containing lead, toy, phthalates and jewellery. Non-compliant products cannot be sold and are subject to enforcement actions which may include seizure, mandatory recall of products, penalties and criminal prosecution.
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