Most if not all consumer products sold in the US and Canada have some product safety, labeling or testing requirements. Requirements are especially numerous for Children’s product because of CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ) but in fact almost all products have some sort of consumer product safety requirement. If you are a first time importer from China, therefore, you need to do your homework as far as testing requirements for your product are concerned. This is very important not only for the obvious reason, that you want your customers to be sure they are getting a safe product, but more importantly you need to pass on your product safety and testing requirements to your vendors very early on. Factories in China have customers from all over the world and the product safety requirements generally vary from country to country. If you don’t have this conversation early on with your vendor you may find out that the product cost you were quoted in the early stages of your negotiation and on which you based your business was based on a vendor cost for raw materials that will not allow your product to pass product safety tests in your country. The difference in cost between environmentally friendly raw material and raw material that has not been filtered to remove dangerous levels of chemicals is sometimes great. So before you approach any vendor with a request make sure you know what you need in terms of product safety compliance.
The best place to begin to educate yourself about product safety requirements is the CPSC website. http://www.cpsc.gov/en/regulations-laws–standards/cpsia/the-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act/
Also it is a good idea to work with your shipping agent (if you have one ) because they may know about certain import restrictions in place. I remember I had a customer once who wanted to import a decorative product made with feathers from China. When I checked the CPSC website I saw that there had been an import restriction in place on any product made with bird feathers because of the avian flu in China. Fortunately for my customer the ban had been lifted. But this is the kind of problem you need to anticipate.