Each year poison control centres in the USA report nearly one million children under the age of five being exposed to potentially poisonous medicines and household chemicals.
A child-resistant (CR) packaging, a term synonymous with poison-prevention packaging (PPP), is a packaging containing hazardous substances that precludes entry by children under the age of five years but can still be opened by adults. Designs for CR packaging can be traced back to 1880, when the first U.S. patent was issued for a CR package. But it wasn’t until 1966, that US Congress began taking a direct interest in this issue, due to public concern about the large number of children who were killed or seriously injured each year due to their ingestion of dangerous household substances. These harmful products included everything from solvents, chemicals and pesticides to prescription and OTC drugs.
Closure designs usually incorporate two dissimilar, simultaneous motions in order to activate or open a unit, such as push-and-turn, squeeze-and-turn, pull-and-turn, or turn-and-push. The most typical forms of CR packaging include blister-packs and bottles with CR closures. Squeezable plastic tubes, whatever the content, you seldom see fitted with a CR closure.
Neopac, provider of high barrier polyfoil tubes for the biotech, pharmaceutical, personal care and cosmetic industries and based in Oberdiessbach, Switzerland, has introduced a new, child-resistant version of its traditional single-dose “Twist’n’Use” packaging. Offering a combination of a single dose tube with tamper evident features, the new Twist’n’Use CR is the smallest, certified, child-resistant cap in the industry.
The package works with two simultaneous movements: pressing down on the outer cap and then twisting. The outer cap freely rotates unless pushed in to interlock with the inner cap. By twisting it, an inner pin is released and opens the tube at a defined breaking point. The ergonomic nozzle without rupture point allows the user to apply the liquid or cream precisely to the targeted areas without contamination of the contents. The cap remains on the tube body the entire time.
While child-resistant packages have proved effective in preventing children from opening or gaining access to hazardous contents, they have also raised concerns over the difficulty of adults in opening the package, particularly among the elderly and the physically disabled.
That’s why the CPSC in the USA amended the law in 1995, and ISO 8317:2003 includes a new test method for adults between the ages of 50 and 70, thereby providing not only a measure of the effectiveness of the package in restricting access by children, but also in permitting access to its contents by adults.