How Effective Are Childproof Caps?


Biotechnology packaging

Everyone’s dealt with them–those annoying little caps that you have to press down and twist in order to open medicine bottles. It’s commonly believed that these caps are one of the best medical packaging techniques to keep children out of dangerous medicines, but a recent study casts doubt on the efficacy of these bottle packaging designs.

Published in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study found that the majority of preschoolers could open uncapped or partially closed child-resistant bottle packaging designs, therefore giving them the opportunity to ingest potentially harmful medicines. On the flip side, the study also seemed to imply that when completely capped, the child-resistant bottle packaging designs work perfectly.

The study also found bottles with flow restriction devices, which are basically rubber or plastic caps on the mouths of the bottles, were increasingly safer. The devices effectively stopped a child from consuming the bottle’s full contents, (which in the study were filled with strawberry syrup) thusly helping to reduce cases of drug poisoning in children.

What’s important to note, though, is that these devices and bottle packaging designs are all secondary barriers. It’s not entirely up to bottle packaging companies to keep children safe from the medicine, explained C.D.C. research Maribeth Lovegrove. Rather, it’s the priority of parents to ensure that medicines are placed far and away from where children can reach.

While the study does point out a small flaw, there’s statistical evidence that shows that childproof packaging has saved lives. In 1972, two years after the Poison Prevention Packaging Act made childproof caps mandatory, there were 216 child poisoning fatalities. In 2008, there were only 34–an 82% decline.

The point is clear. Though effective, parents shouldn’t entirely rely on childproofed bottles to keep children safe. It’s up to them to ensure that their kids cannot access medicines.

But what are your thoughts though? Should pharma packaging companies come up with safer bottle packaging designs, or should parents do more to ensure that their children can’t get to medicines? What do you think? References:

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