What Do You Need to Know About Child Resistant Packaging?

What is child-resistant packaging?

Child-resistant packaging is packaging designed to prevent children younger than 52 months to open but easier for adults to gain access to the contents. Child-resistant packaging consists of safety mechanisms and physical barriers to prevent children from accessing toxic or harmful substances. Child Resistant (CR) packages can decrease the chances of your child gaining access to a package and consuming potentially toxic products.

The primary objective of most brands is to create the perfect packaging. The packaging should effectively prevent and protect children from all types of harm.  The main factors that should be considered when creating a package include functionality, design, convenience, and most importantly, safety.

What does child resistant mean?

Products such as pharmaceuticals, household cleaners, tobacco products, and edible or inedible products are not meant for children. Its recommended to keep this type of product far from the reach of children but this usually doesn’t work all the time as some children still manage to access it. That’s where child-resistant (CR) packaging becomes effective. It ensures that children won’t open the package and gain access to the products.

Child-resistant packaging acts both as a packaging add-on and as a poison prevention method to prevent children from consuming harmful products. Child-resistant packaging makes it very hard for a child under five years to open an adult-only package and gain access to the contents.  The package consists of a closure that’s difficult for kids to manipulate, but easy enough for adults to figure it out. Many brands are now using this closure for their products.

Types of Child-resistant packaging

Child-resistant packaging can be reclosable and non-reclosable and each has several ways to implement child resistance. A reclosable pack can be easily reclosed after initially being opened with the same security levels and having the ability to be used at different times without loss of security.

Reclosable packs emphasize several factors for effective child resistance. The goal is that children younger than 5 years should be unable to accomplish two simultaneous actions. The common child-resistant mechanisms include push and turn, squeeze and turn packs and finally, ‘line up the arrows’ packaging. All reclosable child resistant packs come complete with a container and closure. Therefore, you can find child resistant packs but not child resistant closures or child resistant containers.

A non-reclosable child-resistant pack is that which when all or part of the contents has been removed, cannot be properly closed again.” Examples of non-reclosable packs include blister and strip packs, mostly used in pharmaceuticals and single-use household products. Blister packs have a polymer tray which has an aluminium lidding foil on the open side. Manufacturing non-reclosable child-resistant packaging involves a two-step process which includes ‘peel and push’ or using a paper label that is directly applied to the lidding foil.

Child-resistant packaging is always produced from plastic and usually has high plastic content. Reclosable packs usually consist of a glass container while blister packs usually consist of aluminium foil and paper lidding material; nonetheless, the major materials used include plastic, PP, HDPE, LDPE or PVC. This makes reclosable packaging essential for the plastics industry.

Child Proof Packaging Regulations

Child-resistant packaging regulations are mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC. The CPSC is a federal organization that sets and enforces safety regulations for Compliant packaging. The CPSC also mandates the Child-Resistant Packaging rules. These rules are part of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of PPPA, which is officially titled 16 CFR 1700.20.

Child-Resistant Packaging Testing Requirements

The rules are strict when it comes to testing requirements for child-resistant packaging; the cap and container must be tested together to guarantee effective child-resistant performance and compliance with the Poison Prevention Act. In some child-resistant packaging, the cap may be certified on its own, which means it may need further testing to ensure effectiveness when paired with the container. The components of child resistant packaging are usually tested together when the container is certified. Adding any additional element certification will lead to the removal of the original certification and the container will need to be retested with the additional components.

While a container may meet child resistant standards, it doesn’t actually mean it’s totally safe from children. It means that the packaging can effectively prevent children from accessing the package 85% of the time without demonstration or 80% of the time with demonstration. This also means that 20% of children could potentially open the packaging during testing. Also, the packaging must be adult friendly. At least 50 children must be tested along with 100 adults aged 50 to 70 years old. To gain validation, 90% of adults must be able to open the package.

Child-resistant packaging for pharmaceuticals

It’s very easy for a child to mistake pharmaceuticals for sweets. Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry is now emphasizing child resistant packaging for pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical manufacturers depend on packaging designers to build childproof pharmaceutical packaging, therefore there are different varieties of childproofing solutions. The aim is to develop pharmaceutical packaging that is both child-resistant and easy for elderly patients to use.

Highly potent pharmaceuticals like opioids require high-level child-resistant packaging or special packaging. This child-resistant packaging can include blister packs that can easily be peeled and easier for manufacturers to effectively print the necessary information required by law onto the packaging.

The Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) defines “special packaging” as one that is significantly difficult for children under five years of age to gain access to the package and not difficult for adults to open. Special packaging doesn’t refer to packaging which all such children cannot open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount within a reasonable time.”

Also, a child-resistant peel-push lid stock was designed to remove the burden linked with hard-to-peel CR paper-based lid stock. The lid stock is easily printable in different colors to increase brand recognition on the packaging. Using fewer paper layers on the packaging reduces issues related to moisture absorption, thus allowing the product to be stored for extended periods without damage.

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