Children's Advertising Review Unit - Advertising to Children

Children’s Advertising Review Unit

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the nation’s first Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), helps companies comply with laws and guidelines that protect children from deceptive or inappropriate advertising and ensure that, in an online environment, children's data is collected and handled responsibly. When advertising or data collection practices are misleading, inappropriate, or inconsistent with laws and guidelines, CARU seeks change through the voluntary cooperation of companies and where relevant, enforcement action.

Program Impact

CARU was established in 1974 to support self-regulation in the advertising industry and promote responsible advertising to children. The results of CARU’s work is available to the public.



Monitoring and Enforcement

CARU monitors child-directed media to ensure that advertising is truthful, accurate, appropriate, and compliant with its self-regulatory guidelines, and that online marketing is compliant with both the CARU guidelines and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).

Pre-Screening Service

From concept to final cut, CARU’s pre-screening services help businesses and agencies spot and correct problems before ads and promotional websites go live. Take advantage of our one-on-one support as you navigate COPPA and CARU compliance.

COPPA Safe Harbor Services

CARU is the first FTC-approved Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and can help your company achieve its business goals while ensuring compliance with COPPA requirements, other applicable online data privacy laws, and CARU’s guidelines.

CARU Supporters have access to benefits and resources including:


Access to CARU experts to answer your questions about advertising and privacy issues directed to children


Complimentary advertising pre-screening and guidance from expert staff


Invitation to the annual Supporters’ Council Meeting to discuss industry challenges




Guidelines & Procedures

CARU leads the development and ongoing management of advertising guidelines for children (defined as individuals age 12 or younger). To help businesses and advertisers, CARU provides education, one-on-one support, and legal guidance on: 


  • How to be compliant in the delivery of everything from digital ads to product packaging
  • The art of delivering for an impressionable and vulnerable child audience
  • Children’s privacy, unique to digital content and data collection for children age 12 and under (these guidelines reflect changes in COPPA)
  • How to approach product presentations, appropriate disclosures, sweepstakes and contests, safety, endorsements, and sales pressure

News & Blog


Children’s Advertising Review Unit Recommends IMC Toys Include “Non-Edible” Disclosure in Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti Doll Advertisement

New York, NY – May 27, 2021 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) recommended that IMC Toys USA Inc. modify its television advertisement promoting the Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti doll to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure that children should not consume the jell-like...

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Why Independent Industry Self-Regulation Is Timelier Than Ever

Although advertising’s platforms, technology, and techniques have changed dramatically, the system of independent industry self-regulation has sustained, and thrived, proving itself as an adaptable model to evolving business environments. Today, that model of responsible businesses allowing themselves to be held publicly accountable by independent self-regulation is timelier than ever.
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For Developers: Get to Know the CARU Advertising Guidelines

The CARU Advertising Guidelines are widely recognized industry standards that help ensure advertising directed to children is fair and appropriate for its intended audience across any form of child-directed media. The CARU team outlines some key revisions to the Guidelines to which mobile developers should pay heed.
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Six Key Changes in CARU's Revised Advertising Guidelines

Advertisers should be aware that child-directed marketing and advertising will be reviewed under revised self-regulatory guidelines, to go into effect on January 1, 2022. BBB National Programs Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) last week issued a revised version of the CARU Advertising Guidelines, widely recognized industry standards that assure advertising directed to children is not deceptive, unfair, or inappropriate for its intended audience. These Guidelines were revised to address newer digital and immersive forms of child-directed interactive media more specifically.
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Upcoming Events

Kidvertising 101

Kidvertising 101 is a one-day workshop providing attendees with hands-on education. This year the event is dedicated to the new Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) Advertising Guidelines, recent ...
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Oct 13, 2021 Virtual

2021 ANA/BAA Marketing Law Conference

BBB National Programs speaker Mamie Kresses, Vice President, Children's Advertising Review Unit, will participate in a breakout session on Hot Topics in Children's Advertising and Privacy
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Nov 16, 2021 San Diego



Interested in more information about becoming a CARU Supporter?  Contact our National Partners team to learn how.



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