Importing Bike Helmets for the US Market
Summary: There are US government regulations that must be met to import a bike helmet for the US market. This page has some indications of where to start looking for info on the regulations that apply specifically to helmets, but does not attempt to cover everthing needed to import helmets.
The basic regulatory requirements for importing a bike helmet for sale in the US market are found in the Consumer Product Safety Commission bicycle helmet standard. This is the standard that all bike helmets must meet by law to be sold in the US. It has been modified only once, with a letter to manufacturers interpreting the language on projections.
CPSC has a clear and understandable summary of the bike helmet regulations on their Web site.
The basic premise is that the US importer is responsible for testing the helmets, quality control, documentation and all other requirements. The importer must certify that the helmets meet all applicable regulations. That gives CPSC legal recourse against a US company.
There are also requirements for any product sold in the US that it meet the lead, phthalate and other standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. A declaration form must accompany any importation of helmets so that customs can verify that the product meets CPSIA. There are regulations for children's products that differ from adult products.
That is just for starters. There are many other import requirements and documentation that we have no knowledge of, and are not attempting to cover here.
In 2016 CPSC launched a "Regulations Robot" site that generates reports on the regulatory requirements for individual products. You input data on your product, and the generated report has sections that cover the applicable rules. It also has information on issues like reporting requirements.
This page was updated or partially revised on: January 13, 2016.