Child-resistant packaging or CR packaging is special packaging used to reduce the risk of children ingesting hazardous materials. This is often accomplished by the use of a special safety cap. It is required by regulation for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, Nicotine Containing Electronic Cigarette devices or Refill containers that can contain Nicotine EUTPD 36.7 pesticides, and household chemicals. In some jurisdictions, unit packaging such as blister packs is also regulated for child safety.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated in a press release that "There is no such thing as child-proof packaging. So you shouldn't think of packaging as your primary line of defense. Rather, you should think of packaging, even child-resistant packaging, as your last line of defense."
A history of accidents involving children opening household packaging and ingesting the contents led the United States Congress to pass the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970, authored by U.S. Senator Frank E. Moss of Utah. This gave the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to regulate this area. Additions throughout the decades have increased the initial coverage to include other hazardous items, including chemicals regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Coordination exists for improving international standards on requirements and protocols.
Child-resistant packaging can be a problem for some aged individuals or people with disabilities. Regulations require designs to be tested to verify that most adults can access the package. Some jurisdictions allow pharmacists to provide medications in non CR packages when there are no children in the same house.
The regulations are based on protocols of performance tests of packages with actual children, to determine if the packages can be opened. More recently, additional package testing is used to determine if aged individuals or people with disabilities have the ability to open the same packages.
Often the CR requirements are met by package closures which require two dissimilar motions for opening. Hundreds of package designs are available for packagers to consider.
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- Institute of Packaging Professionals
- Packaging Association of Canada
- Jay M. Arena Papers at Duke University Medical Center Archives (During the 1950s Arena persuaded drug companies to develop childproof safety caps for medicine bottles)
News stories and press releases:
- Mother pushes for childproof packaging at ToledoBlade.com, 2005-08-02
- Childproof Packaging - new designs could save lives at EPSRC, 2005-05-24