Child-resistant packaging

A bottle of aspirin with a child-resistant cap bearing the instruction "push down and turn to open"

Child-resistant packaging or CR 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 in 1967 by Dr. Henri Breault.[6]

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[7][8] 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.[9][10][11] Regulations require designs to be tested to verify that most adults can access the package.[12] 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.[13] [14]

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.


See also


  1. Sanbar, Shafeek S. (2007). Legal medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-323-03753-2. 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 978-0-226-90225-8. 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" (PDF). 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. "Dr. Henri Breault". Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. CPSC (February 9, 2007). "Poison Prevention Packaging Information". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  8. Viscusi, W. Kip (1995). Fatal tradeoffs: public and private responsibilities for risk. Oxford University Press US. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-19-510293-2. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  9. de la Fuente, Javier. "The use of a universal design methodology for developing child-resistant drug packaging". Master's Thesis. Michigan State University. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
  10. de la Fuente, Javier; Bix, Laura. "Perceptions and attitudes of people with disabilities and older adults about child-resistant drug packaging" (PDF). Journal for Patient Compliance. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
  11. de la Fuente, Javier; Bix, Laura. "User-pack interaction: Insights for Designing Inclusive Child-resistant Packaging". Designing Inclusive Interactions. Springer Link. pp. 89–100. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  12. CPSC. "Testing procedure for special packaging". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  13. CPSC. "Poison Prevention Packaging". US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  14. Bix, Laura; de la Fuente, Javier; Pimple, Kenneth D.; Kou, Eric. "Is the test of senior friendly/child resistant packaging ethical?". Health Expectations. pp. 430–437. Retrieved 21 August 2015.

General references

External links

News stories and press releases:

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