Child-Resistant Packaging: Why It Matters
Having a child injured due to irresponsible packaging is a tragedy for any business. Such worst case scenario will most likely lead to loss of customers and a potential lawsuit. To avoid all these from happening, a proper child-resistant packaging approved by Consumer Product Safety Commission must be used.
What exactly is child-resistant packaging?
Child-resistant (CR) packaging includes glass or plastic containers and pouches/bags with child-resistant closures. This means lids or zippers that are relatively difficult for children under the age of 5 to open. The famous push-down-and-turn cap is one example of a child-resistant closure designed to prevent children from gaining access to potentially dangerous items like medications and household chemicals. The manual closing zipper is another type of child-resistant closure.
“Push and turn” closures are deemed child-resistant because these require two dissimilar actions to be done simultaneously. Researchers have confirmed that children younger than 52 months are unable to accomplish two simultaneous actions.
Child Resistant Closures Designs
There are several child-resistant mechanisms used in packaging to ensure child protection.
The push and turn closure is an ASTM Type 1A closure made with two-piece molding wherein the outer shell spins freely until pushed down and turned counterclockwise to unfasten from the container. This continuous thread closure is the preferred choice of most packagers because it fits standard neck finishes of most non-CR containers.
The squeeze-and-turn closure is an ASTM Type 1B single-piece closure that requires a firm squeeze to be applied to the sidewall while the cap is turned counterclockwise to open. This CR cap style is commonly found on mouthwash bottles
Snap caps with arrows that need to be lined up, on the other hand, are ASTM Type 3 closure made from one-piece plastic. This closure is opened by aligning the arrow on the cap with the arrow on the container and then lifting up the tab.
Most, if not all, of these child-resistant caps come with embossed (raised) text top that describes the opening mechanism in words. Some are designed with embossed pictorial opening instructions.
Since its introduction, child-resistant packaging has been enhanced and made more effective not just in terms of resistance to opening by children but also in ease of use by adults, especially senior citizens. Along with the improvement in design, the growth in demand has been very obvious too. The market for child-resistant packaging is growing not simply because of the rising demand for proper drug packaging in the pharmaceutical industry but more because of the rising cases of accidental ingestion of hazardous substances by children. To decrease the mortality rate ratio, child-resistant closures are now required to be used as a safety measure.
Now that medical use of the controversial herb is legal in 31 states and recreational adult-use is legal in 9 states, the more there is the need for child-resistant packaging. As with any potentially harmful medication, dry buds/flowers/herb products should be secured in containers that children cannot access.
A Must-Have for the Herb Industry
Because herb legalization is still in process, state and local regulations differ and current laws are subject to changes. Some states have not yet made child-resistant packaging a legal requirement although prominent warnings to keep the product out of reach of children are advised. In this case, growers and herb product manufacturers along with packagers, distributors and retailers must still be ahead of the curve in protecting the safety of children.
Why? Packaging potentially dangerous products like “the herb” in child-resistant packaging speaks a lot about your business or brand. It means you are compliant and a responsible business that cares not just about your sales but also about customers’ safety. It means that you aim to market your products only to intended consumers like adults and medical patients. It means that you wish to provide your consumers with peace of mind knowing that their medication or their stash will be out of children’s reach and sight. It means that you wish to contribute to the success of the herb industry by marketing it as something that can be responsibly consumed and safely stored and that it will not put children at risk.
Choosing the Right CR Packaging
So which child-resistant packaging should you choose for your products? Well, that will largely depend on the type of herb product you need to pack. The ultimate measure to check if you’ve selected the right CR packaging is if it follows this principle: ‘easy as possible, as difficult as needed.’ Simply put, the packaging must be easy for the intended user to open or gain access to contents but must be difficult for unintended hands (like those of children) to operate.
There are many forms of CR packaging and basically all are designed to discourage unauthorized opening or access to contents. There are glass and plastic vials with child-resistant caps, pop top bottles with child-resistant lids, and stand-up pouches and bags with child-resistant zippers. There are also child-resistant exit packaging that provides an added layer of protection. Ensure that herb products stay out of the hands of young children by packing them in opaque, child-resistant exit bags before your customers leave your dispensary. Double the CR packaging, double the protection.
Make sure you also get your child-resistant packaging supplies from reputable wholesalers or distributors. CR Packaging must be tested and must pass necessary certifications. The CR Certification Process comes with very strict and specific parameters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates child-resistant packaging based on the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1972.
There is no arguing that protecting the safety of children in the age of herb legalization is a priority. One does not have to be involved in the industry to recognize the importance of child safety to the success of legitimizing herb sales on a federal level. Invest in compliance with strict child-resistant packaging and labeling guidelines and you’ll be investing as well in this money-spinning industry with real longevity.