Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Consumer Education Efforts for Revised Children's Sleepwear Safety Standard

HEHS-99-123: Published: Jun 9, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO examined the type and extent of consumer education that occurred since the revised children's sleepwear safety standard went into effect in January 1997, focusing on three voluntary point-of-sale practices that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and others recognize as important for informing consumers about the new standard.

GAO noted that: (1) as a result of cooperative efforts among CPSC, children's sleepwear manufacturers, and retailers, progress has been made in making point-of-sale information on sleepwear safety standards available to consumers; (2) GAO found in the shopping sample that informational hangtags--the most prevalent form of consumer education material available--were used in about 73 percent of various brand selection of snug-fitting garments; (3) however, the full range of suggested point-of-sale practices has not been widely used; (4) fewer than 16 percent of the stores GAO visited displayed either consumer education brochures or signs about sleepwear safety requirements; (5) also, about 63 percent of the stores displayed other clothing, such as cotton long underwear and loose-fitting cotton T-shirts, on racks with sleepwear--a practice that has been shown to cause consumer confusion; (6) manufacturers and retailers told GAO that a primary reason that they had not been more aggressive in offering consumer information was the uncertain future of the standards; and (7) because the standards that enabled snug-fitting sleepwear to be marketed could be revised or revoked, the expenditure of additional resources on education efforts relative to this product did not make good business sense.

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