What You Can Do
By Maggie Overfelt

(FORTUNE Small Business) – How do smart manufacturers minimize the risk of a recall? The U.S. government sets rules for a few products, such as cigarette lighters, but most others are governed by voluntary standards. A nonprofit called ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) issues standards for about 12,000 consumer products in 130 industries. For example, the standards for stroller manufacturers are updated twice a year by a committee of Consumer Product Safety Commission staffers, manufacturers, retailers, and product testers assembled by the ASTM. (To download standards for your product, go to astm.org and click on Technical Committees; cost: $25 to $50.)

The CPSC also suggests getting your product tested by an independent lab for qualities such as durability and fire resistance. The Underwriters Laboratories (ul.com) is probably the best known; basic testing starts at about $500.

Some business owners splurge on product-liability insurance, which covers them even if their product uses components made by other manufacturers. "A $4 part could cause a recall that becomes a $100 million problem, and you're responsible," says Bill Harrison, managing director at AON, a risk-management firm in Chicago. Costs range widely; expect to pay $15,000 at least.