Interest in Child-Resistance (CR) Packaging Spikes

Posted on 3/18/2015 5:33:11 PM By Hallie Forcinio

It’s Poison Prevention Packaging Week (Mar. 15-21, 2015), and it’s a time to celebrate! Hundreds of lives have been saved and thousands of injuries averted since 1970 when Congress passed the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA), mandating child-resistant packaging for certain products.

As a result, most of us encounter CR packaging every day. We see it on our prescription and over-the-counter drugs, toilet bowl cleaners, charcoal lighting fluid and a host of other products that could harm a child if swallowed. CR packaging provides a barrier to kids, while simultaneously being senior friendly.

As the decades have passed, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the administrator of the PPPA, has expanded the list of products required to be in CR packaging and has worked to educate consumers.

Nevertheless, although CR packaging is part of everyday life, poisoning remains a hazard to children. In 2014, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received about 3 million calls from consumers for poison exposure treatment or information, and poisoning still causes about 30 pediatric deaths each year.

Although CR packaging is well-established, new CR designs are being sought. It’s likely several forces are responsible for this growing attention:

  • Additions to the list of products requiring CR packaging
  • The legalization of medical/recreational marijuana use in several states
  • Widespread publicity about poisoning incidents related to detergent “pods”
  • An ongoing shift from rigid containers to flexible packaging

In fact, the number of CR options for flexible packaging is expanding. The Presto Child-Guard slider zipper from Reynolds Presto Products Co. unzips the pouch when the slider tongue is aligned with a groove, depressed and pulled. PPi Technologies uses this reclosable CR zipper for its CannaPaQ™ standup pouch for marijuana. The CannaPaQ line also includes a pouch equipped with a large orifice fitment and CR closure.

PPiTech, cannapaq pouch image

Caption: PPi Technologies' CannaPaQ pouch with the CR closure 

To protect blister cards, a common pharmaceutical packaging format, Colbert Packaging Corp., offers the Medlock EZ CR compliance package and Ecobliss Holding B.V. has introduced the Locked4Kids carton. Both rely on a locking mechanism that requires the reach of an adult-size hand to press two points simultaneously to release the blister and access a dose. Adhesives play a role in ensuring children cannot tear the carton open and access the blister card.

Colbert Packaging, Medlock

Caption: Colbert Packaging's Medlock package

New CR designs are helping eye drops and nasal sprays containing imidazolines transition into CR packaging. CR options for this class of products, which are facing a deferred enforcement date of June 10, 2015, include the HiMark™ CR Nasal Sprayer from MeadWestvaco and SecureCap push-and-turn CR closures from Comar in 15mm and 18mm diameters.

As demand for CR packaging grows, consumers express definite preferences. In April 2014, a focus group organized by TricorBraun Design & Innovation, a business unit of TricorBraun, a supplier of bottles, jars and other rigid packaging components, examined seven CR closures. Participants viewed a soft texture surface as more grippable and comfortable than ribbed designs. They wanted to hear an audible click upon re-closure so they could be confident the package was securely closed. In addition, members of the group preferred the designs with the highest contrast between background color and instructions and some voiced a preference for instructions with diagrams rather than words. 

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