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What Does ‘JPMA Certified’ Mean?

JPMA stands for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which is a national trade group that oversees a certification program for baby products produced by member manufacturers. But wait – does that mean the <a title="Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association" href="http://www.jpma.org/" target="_blank">JPMA</a> can rubber-stamp the certification of its members' products? Nope. <strong>ASTM International: The Standards Overlords</strong> Anyone who has spent any time in any industry whatsoever is familiar with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Founded all the way back in 1898, these are the people who establish the guidelines that other associations like the JPMA must meet to say something is “certified” insofar as it meets ASTM standards. So, why doesn’t the ASTM do the testing? That’s a very good question, although the answer is surprisingly simple: Despite being widely recognized as the standard-bearer of …well … standards, the ASTM has no authority to require or enforce those standards. Membership is voluntary; however, this is precisely why it really <em>is</em> the authority on standards – particularly safety standards. Think of it as Mensa, but for companies. Meeting ASTM standards doesn’t really get you anything <em>except the awesome privilege of saying you can do it</em> – and that’s worth a lot to companies with something to prove. Speaking of … <strong>JPMA: An Association with Something to Prove</strong> JPMA members make and/or import <em>baby products</em> and you <em>know</em> you’re not going to buy anything for your baby unless it’s covered in stamps warranting its safety. So, this is what happens: <em>Baby Product Manufacturer A:</em> “Hey JPMA, we want to join your club so you’ll certify our stuff!” <em>JPMA</em>: “No problem, but your stuff has to be tested by an independent facility and meet these ASTM standards.” Now, where it goes from there is anybody’s guess, but where it doesn’t go is to the ASTM, because here’s what they’d say: <em>ASTM</em>: “Hey man, we just make the standards.” <strong>Your Baby Products: JPMA Certified?  </strong> Now, does that mean the <a title="Cribs" href="http://www.atgstores.com/cribs_1060.html" target="_blank">crib</a> you have that isn’t certified by the JPMA unsafe? No, not necessarily – it just means that it either a) hasn’t met JPMA specifications or b) isn't a member of the association, which in turn <em>might</em> mean it doesn’t meet ASTM safety standards. There are many manufacturers that meet other strict standards like those set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and it's entirely possible for manufacturers to meet ASTM standards without being members of the JPMA. <a title="ATG Stores Home Page" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> carries all kinds of CPSC- and JPMA-certified <a title="Nursery Furniture" href="http://www.atgstores.com/nursery-furniture_1871.html" target="_blank">nursery furniture</a> that’s built with high standards in mind.
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