Child-resistant packaging

Child-resistant packaging

Child-resistant packaging or C-R packaging is special packaging used to reduce the risk of children ingesting dangerous items. This is often accomplished by the use of a special safety cap. It is required by regulation for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications[1][2], pesticides, and household chemicals.[3] In some jurisdictions, unit packaging such as blister packs is also regulated for child safety.[4]

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."[5]



The child-resistant locking closure for containers was invented by Dr. Henri Breault in 1967.

A history of accidents involving children opening household packaging and ingesting the contents led the US Congress to pass the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. This gave the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission[6][7] 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.

Difficulty opening

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 C-R 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.[8]

Often the C-R requirements are met by package closures which require two dissimilar motions for opening. Hundreds of package designs are available for packagers to consider.


  • ISO 8317 Child-resistant packaging - Requirements and testing procedures for reclosable packages.
  • ISO 13127 Packaging—Child resistant packaging—Mechanical test methods for reclosable child resistant packaging systems
  • ASTM D3475 Standard Classification for Child-Resistant Packages

See also


  1. ^ Sanbar, Shafeek S. (2007). Legal medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 393. ISBN 9780323037532. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Winter, Harold (2005-05-01). Trade-offs: an introduction to economic reasoning and social issues. University of Chicago Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780226902258. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Gaunt, Michael J. (May 2007). "Child-resistant does not mean Childproof". Pharmacy Times. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Smith, G; Barone, S (16 March 2005). "PPPA, Unit Packaging". CPSC. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "New National Emergency Hotline Assessed; CPSC Joins in Launching Poison Prevention Week to Stop 30 Deaths Each Year" (Press release). CPSC. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Poison Prevention Packaging Information". US Consumer Product Safety Commission. February 9, 2007. Retrieved 19,12,2008. 
  7. ^ Viscusi, W. Kip (1995). Fatal tradeoffs: public and private responsibilities for risk. Oxford University Press US. p. 235. ISBN 9780195102932. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "CPSC Requirements under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act". CPSC. 

General references

  • Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 9780470087046
  • Lockhart, H., and Paine, F.A., "Packaging of Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Products", 2006, Blackie, ISBN 0751401676

External links

News stories and press releases:

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