Online shopping continues to gain popularity. Between mega-retailers like Amazon and Target and smaller individual selling platforms like Etsy and eBay, more products than ever are making their way into our lives via our mail carriers. With convenience comes risk, however. In many instances, retailers require that items are packaged in poly warning bags — and for a good reason.
What Are Warning Bags?
For those who are unfamiliar with mailer supplies, warning bags are a type of poly bag designed to not only hold the merchandise but also to warn parents and pet owners about the suffocation dangers associated with plastic bags. Individual retailers, including Amazon, require that individually packaged products utilize warning bags that meet precise specifications to avoid any liability.
Did you know that Amazon has a program that allows small businesses to sell their products on the retail giant’s platform? Fulfillment By Amazon enables companies to ship their individually-packaged inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers where the items wait until being purchased by a customer. Once a customer makes a purchase, Amazon sends the item, along with anything else the customer bought, to its destination.
However, Amazon has specific requirements for businesses looking to mail merchandise through its Fulfillment By Amazon program, particularly as it relates to warning bags. According to Amazon’s Seller Central website, “Poly bags used to protect units must meet the following requirements: Poly bags with a 5-inch opening or larger (measured when flat) must have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag or attached as a label. Failure to apply a suffocation warning may lead to the items being re-bagged.” Amazon also has specifications on the text size, thickness, and sealing qualities of the warning bags that sellers can use.
Although neither eBay nor Etsy has specific requirements in place for suffocation warnings, Target and Walmart — retailers who both store and source their products from their warehouses — do have policies in place regarding their mailer supplies and warning bags.
In addition to a variety of retailers, individual cities and states are also very specific on the types of mailer supplies that must be used. In the United States, two major cities — Chicago and New York City — and five states — Massachusetts, California, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia — have passed legislation regarding warning bags and how retailers use them. In addition, more than a dozen cities in the United States have also passed similar legislation: Saint Louis County, MO; Avondale, AZ; East Baton Rouge Parish, LA; Big Stone Gap, VA; Gering, NE; Stamford, CT; Norton, VA; Prince William County, VA; South Bend, IN; Flagstaff, AZ; South Hill, VA; and Weatherford, TX.
Why Use Warning Bags
To many people, warning bags may seem unnecessary. Who needs to be reminded not to put a plastic bag on their head? However, the warning serves as a stark reminder according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year an average of 25 children die from suffocation related to plastic bags, and nearly 90 percent of those 25 are children under one year of age. Suffocation is at risk of occurring if a child, or pet, becomes entangled in the bag or if the plastic can create an airtight seal over their nose and mouth.
Although some legislation requires specific language to be used, the following warning is generally acceptable by all businesses looking to enact a warning label on its products: “Warning: To avoid 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.”
Types of Warning Bags
If you’re looking to transition from standard mailing supplies to options with warning bags, there are several options to choose. Warning bags come in a variety of sizes ranging from 6x9 inches to 19x24 inches and more. We recommend purchasing warning bag mailer supplies that are self-seal, meaning they can be quickly and easily sealed by removing a protective strip from a band of adhesive already in place on the bag. This self-seal adhesive helps ensure each bag will remain securely sealed throughout transit.
Poly bag mailing supplies make an excellent choice for warning bags because, in addition to being equipped with self-seal technology, they are also strong enough to protect your merchandise from dust, debris, dirt, and moisture. This type of mailing supply also resists punctures and tears, which adds a layer of protection against children or pets who may get ahold of them.
Warning bags should come printed with an easy-to-read suffocation warning, such as these warning bags, which feature a multilingual option with a bold, black warning label printed in English, Spanish, and French.
Other Warning Bag Products
What if you already have mailing supplies that aren’t adequately labeled? Or, if you want to add a second layer of protection to bags that do not fall within the required specifications for a location where you may be mailing your merchandise? Rather than purchasing brand new mailing supplies, our warning suffocation labels offer a great alternative. Available in rolls of 500 stickers with 12 rolls per box, each sticker is 2x2 inches and features a label that reads, “WARNING. KEEP AWAY FROM SMALL CHILDREN. THE THIN FILM MAY CLING TO NOSE AND MOUTH AND PREVENT BREATHING. THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY.”
Need help picking the right mailer? We’ve got you covered for that, too! Regardless of the types of products you’re mailing, ensure that you’re protecting your customers, their children, and their pets from harm and yourself from liability is the smart thing to do. By keeping a stock of warning bags, suffocation warning labels, and other mailing supplies handy, you’ll always have what you need. Need a place to start? Explore our entire selection of clear warning bags, and here for our warning suffocation labels.