Maintaining Child-Resistant Packaging for Pharmaceuticals

April 27, 2022
Posted in Packaging
April 27, 2022 Paul Green

For over 50 years, Child Related Research has been dedicated to testing the safety and efficacy of child-resistant packaging as well as accessible-friendly packaging for elders or those with disabilities. Our work started in 1970 after the implementation of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA), which created standards and regulations for packaging on common household products, including medications, to guard against accidental ingestion and poisoning.

What Is Child-Resistant Packaging?

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and the PPPA define child-resistant packaging as special packaging that is designed to be significantly difficult for children aged five years and under to open in a reasonable amount of time. The packaging must be simple for adults to open, and additional, non child-resistant containers must accommodate elders and those with disabilities.

Examples of Child-Resistant Packaging

The most common types of packaging found in pharmaceutical products are safety caps and blister packs. The requirements for safety caps are that they have at least two motions that are performed in order to open the container. Typically, consumers will see the “push down and turn” or “squeeze lock” closures on their medications, supplements, and other over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Other options may include tamper-evident caps, snap safe caps, or Rx squeeze vial caps.

Blister packs have gained popularity in pharmaceutical packaging around the world due to their convenient design, portability, and the ability to separate products into individual dosages. A blister pack usually has a “bubble” of plastic where the medication goes. This is then covered with a flexible but extremely strong plastic/metal foil material that is difficult for children to penetrate.

Additional Package Types

While safety caps and blister packs are the most popular types of child-resistant packaging in the pharmaceutical market, technology is innovative and continues to change and advance every day. These innovations have led to new types of child-resistant packaging being found on pharmacy shelves.


Medical sprays are not the most used items on the market, but for those that are available, manufacturers have made changes to include child-resistant caps on top of spray bottles. These caps conceal the spray nozzle and include the “push, hold, and turn” motion which fulfills the two-step motion requirement set in place by the PPPA.


The Presto Products Company has created a “press-to-engage (PTE)” mechanism that can be added to slider, or zippered, pouches, making them child-resistant and reusable as needed. The PTE makes these packages difficult for children to open, but simple for adults and even those with disabilities.

Lockable Cartons

This type of child-resistant packaging encloses the medication, typically in a blister pack, in a carton that can be completely closed again or locked with a special key that is separate from the container.

Effects on the Pharmaceutical Industry

While there are many items that need child-resistant packaging, including cleaners, makeup, chemicals, and other potentially harmful materials, the pharmaceutical industry has the most items that require these additional protections. Nearly 60,000 kids under the age of five end up accidentally ingesting prescription medications, supplements, and OTC pills every year, and sadly, this medication poisoning leads to the death of a child every 12 days, on average. 

Considering these troubling numbers, it is vitally important that child-resistant packaging regulations be strictly followed throughout the pharmaceutical industry. Because child-resistant does not mean child-proof, we should all do our part to keep medications out of the hands of children.

How Child Related Research Can Help

As new child-resistant closures are being created all the time, these items need to be professionally tested to ensure they meet all US and/or international standards  for the child-resistant classification. Child Related Research is dedicated to testing these closures quickly and efficiently so they can be introduced to the market. 

Testing requirements for these products indicate that the packaging needs to be given to groups of children to evaluate their ability, or lack thereof, to open the container. The groups are divided by age (42 to 44 months, 45 to 48 months, and 49 to 51 months) and the children are asked to try to open the container. They are then observed closely for 10 minutes to see if they were able to open the packaging in the established time frame. 

In addition to packaging testing, Child Related Research offers a variety of other services to help ensure that closures are safe to use in the pharmaceutical industry, including: 

  • Pre-evaluations: We’ll give focused, honest feedback on your product before it enters the testing phase 
  • Mini Studies:  CRR offers mini studies to give you an idea how your package will do before investing in a fully certified CR package study
  • Market research studies: You can gain insight into consumer preferences with the help of our team
  • Fastest turnaround times: Child Related Research has an extensive pool of over 1,500 testing sites in multiple states meaning we can test your product almost immediately, allowing us to offer you the fastest turnaround time in the industry

The pharmaceutical industry has a critical responsibility to help protect kids through child-resistant packaging. Child Related Research is here to test the safety and reliability of these products to ensure that they are ready for consumers. Contact Child Related Research or call us at 801-904-3893 to learn more or to start testing your child-resistant packaging today.

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