Are Childproof Packaging Really Childproof?

In 2004 alone, over 1 million children under 5 years worldwide were exposed to poisons. While a good number of them got lucky, some lost their lives while trying to experiment with toxic substances. In a bid to promote a safer environment for children, health authorities have laws regarding the packaging of harmful products. These include over-the-counter medications, among nicotine-containing products, household chemicals, marijuana and CBD containers, among others. The concept is that any container housing any of these substances should be fitted with a special, tight cap that cannot be opened by a child.

However, there has been growing concern as to whether childproof packaging really protects kids. Some people have cause to believe that just because a container is labeled “childproof” doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust your kid with it. So, where does the truth lie, exactly?

The Rationale of Childproof Packaging

Essentially, most medicines don’t taste good. To make them desirable and bearable, manufacturers add flavorings such as bubble gum and grape to enhance their flavor. To a young child with a deep desire for exploration, such a prescription drug may look like candy. The bright color and the sweet taste doesn’t help with the situation either. An overdose of any drug is a recipe for disaster, especially for a child.

The same goes for household products such as cosmetics and window cleaners. A small baby can easily mistake them for some sort of sweet drink. Using child-resistant packaging on such products is taking preventative action to some extent.

What Does Research Say?

According to a study done by Dr. Gregory B. Rodgers in 1996, childhood deaths caused by accidental ingestion of harmful substances have reduced by 45% since the introduction of childproof packaging in 1974. However, there are a few clever kids who have figured out how to open childproof packaging on their own. This means that although these containers might save your child’s life, don’t consider them entirely foolproof. Consumer Products Safety terms a packaging to be childproof is more than 80% of kids below the age of 5 cannot open it. 

The Verdict: Take Caution

From the research above, it is clear that childproof packaging works to a certain level. Although it is effective for a larger majority, your child could fall under the unlucky group. Just because a packaging says “child-resistant”, don’t simply sit back and trust the label. To be safe, ensure that all containers with harmful substances are kept out of the reach of any child under the age of 5. If possible, store all of them in a locked cabinet. Additionally, put any harmful substances in their original containers to avoid confusion. Finally, take all your drugs away from the glare of your child. They might think it is something sweet and fit for consumption when they see you taking it.

We hope the question of whether childproof packaging is childproof has been sufficiently answered. The bottom line is that childproof packaging is not fully effective. Take great caution even if you feel so strongly about the manufacturer.