It may not be as fun as zapping teddy bears and tiny socks with that nifty shower-registry gun, but taking the time to register the baby products you buy or receive with their manufacturers is just as important as registering for them in the first place.
Sure, it’s a hassle, but making the extra effort to fill out and mail a registration card could save you time and money down the road. It could also save your baby’s life.
What is a Product Registration Card?
If you’ve ever bought a brand new product, you’ve likely seen a registration card.
These small postage-paid cards are usually found in the box along with the instructions and marketing materials. Registration cards typically require the consumer to fill out some basic information, including contact info, before sending the card back to the manufacturer for future reference.
Many products, especially those made for children, come with registration cards. In fact, as of June 2010, manufacturers in the United States must provide either a card or an online registration form for all durable products made for infant and toddlers, such as cribs, strollers, and highchairs.
Missing the card? Be sure to contact the manufacturer.
Why Product Registration Matters
Product registration allows manufacturers to keep track of the people who purchase their products, and contact them in the event of a safety recall. Should a dangerous malfunction or other safety problem be discovered, consumers who registered with the manufacturer will be the first to hear about it. Fail to register, and you may never know that time spent in your baby’s portable crib or beloved bouncer could be putting your little one at risk.
Registering your products can also help you avoid unnecessary costs. Initial registration may be required to validate warranties and other product guarantees. Skip the trip to the post office, and you may find yourself with a busted product and a worthless piece of paper.
Even if the warranty is good, you usually need to prove ownership before the manufacturer will ship you a new part or product. If you registered at the time of purchase, the manufacturer will already have your proof of purchase on file, saving you from having to produce the product or receipt.
Protecting Your Personal Information
It’s one thing for a company to ask you to provide proof of purchase and a few contact details to be used in the event of a recall; it’s another to ask you to sit down and fill out a small personal history.
Feel like you’re getting the third degree? Skip it! Personal questions regarding your income, education, or hobbies should be off the table. This type of survey information only serves the manufacturers—many of whom turn around and sell it to marketing firms. All you get out of the deal is an inbox full of personalized spam.
If your registration card looks like a marketing survey, it probably is. Don’t be intimidated by claims that failure to fill out the form will invalidate the warranty. They almost certainly won’t. Just leave all the unnecessary questions blank, and provide the company with only your name and preferred method of contact.
Getting It Done
Drowning in a list of pre-baby to-dos? Many manufacturers now allow consumers to register online, making the process much easier and less time-consuming. Another tip? Consider the registration process to be an extension of your thank you notes, filling out a registration card along with each note of heart-filled thanks. You can even drop them in the mail at the same time! If all else fails, take advantage of that growing baby bump and hand over that stack of registration cards to a willing friend or family member—whatever it takes to get this important task done.
For more important safety tips, including our nursery-safety checklist, please visit our safety basics page.