BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Safe Harbor Program and Requirements

Safe Harbor Program 

In January 2001, CARU’s self-regulatory program became the first Federal Trade Commission-approved Safe Harbor under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). Participants who adhere to CARU’s Guidelines are deemed in compliance with COPPA and essentially insulated from FTC enforcement action as long as they comply with program requirements. CARU Supporters who want to become part of the Safe Harbor program should contact Dona Fraser, CARU’s Director, at 212-705-0112 or email

CARU Safe Harbor Program Requirements

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) was founded in 1974 to promote responsible children’s advertising as part of a strategic alliance with the major advertising trade associations through the National Advertising Review Council (comprising the 4As, the AAF, the ANA and the CBBB). CARU is the children’s arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulation program and evaluates child-directed advertising and promotional material in all media to advance truthfulness, accuracy and consistency with its Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising (the Guidelines) and relevant laws. As an extension of its mission, to help advertisers deal sensitively with the child audience in a responsible manner, CARU has established this Safe Harbor Program for our supporters to help them protect the privacy of children online, and meeting the requirements of COPPA and our Guidelines.

CARU’s Safe Harbor Program includes the following components:

  • Participant’s full adherence to the requirements set forth in the CARU Safe Harbor Participation Agreement;
  • Participant’s compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including the Guidelines for Online Privacy Protection;
  • Review by CARU staff of the participant Website’s information practices;
  • Ongoing monitoring by CARU staff of the participant’s Website to assess and ensure compliance with the Safe Harbor Program;
  • Completion of CARU’s Self-Assessment Form and Attestation by the Safe Harbor participant; and
  • Submission to CARU of an updated Self-Assessment Form and Attestation on each anniversary of the date of acceptance in the CARU Safe Harbor Program.

In addition, the participant agrees to be subject to the provisions of the NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures, including those concerning complaints, appeals and enforcement of compliance.

For more information on CARU’s Safe Harbor Program, please contact:

Dona J. Fraser, Director, CARU
Tel: 212-705-0112
Email: dfraser(at)