Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Most plastic bags in our society contain a warning about the suffocation hazard, yet the U.S,. Consumer Product Safety Commission still receives approximately 24 reports annually describing deaths of children who suffocated due to plastic bags.

This study examined three of the warning features on plastic bags: (1) border versus no border, (2) position of the signal word relative to the text, (3) all capital letters versus sentence case. Ratings provided by more than fifty students indicated highly significant effects of the border on noticeability, and position and letter case on reading likelihood. Strongest effects were from presence of a border and positioning the signal word centered over the text message.


Lynn, T.J., and Jensen, R.C., Comparison of Warning Labels on Plastic Bags. Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Regional National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Young/New Investigators Symposium, April, 2005, Salt Lake City, pp. 45-54. Published by the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Utah, April 2006.