Child-Resistant Packaging: What You Need to Know

Creating the perfect packaging for your brand is a rewarding process. You work hard to ensure that the packaging will effectively keep the product fresh, protect it during transit, and deliver key information to consumers, all while being durable and engaging. 

We know that all of these factors are important as you strive to create packaging that will be popular with consumers. 

While functionality, design, and convenience are important factors when developing product packaging, so is ensuring your products end up in the right hands, especially if your product is only meant for adults.

If your product is potentially harmful to children, ensuring your packaging is designed for safety is key. Child Resistant (CR) packages are designed to reduce the risk of children successfully opening a package and ingesting potentially harmful or hazardous products.

Many products are not intended for young children, items like pharmaceuticals, household cleaners, tobacco products, and edible or inedible plants. It’s a good idea that these types of items stay out of reach of children, but sometimes that just isn’t the case. That’s where child-resistant (CR) packaging comes in, ensuring that kids cannot open the package to access the product inside. 

CR packaging isn’t just a packaging add-on; it’s used as a poison prevention method to stop children from ingesting dangerous items. Child-resistant packaging is designed to be very difficult for children under five to open, or obtain a harmful amount of the contents, within a reasonable time. The package is created with a closure that is difficult for kids to figure out, yet easy enough for adults to understand and open. Many products use this closure, and several require it.

Determine If You Need Child-Resistant Packaging

So, how do you know if you need to package your product in special, child-resistant packaging? In accordance with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created a set of rules for products commonly found around the house. According to the CPSC, you must use child-resistant packaging for your product if: 

  • The product presents a risk of serious injury or illness to children under five, who are able to open the package and eat, drink, or handle the contents, and 
  • Technology exists, or can be developed, to produce child-resistant packaging for such products, that the packaging can be used with modern mass production and assembly techniques, and that the packaging will adequately protect the integrity of the product and not interfere with the product’s intended storage, or use.

Some pretty obvious types of products require the use of child-resistant packaging, like dietary supplements, chemicals, over-the-counter medications, herbal medicine, and nicotine. But, even seemingly innocent products like cosmetics, mouthwash, and lawn and garden products may require CR packaging. Also, the booming edible and inedible plants market, in specific, needs special attention when creating the right package with child-resistant closures. 

To learn more about which types of products require the use of special packaging, click here

Developing Effective Child-Resistant Pouches

If you determine that you need child-resistant packaging for your product, know that there are a lot of great closure options, like caps, sliders, and zippers, depending on the type of package you choose. For flexible packaging, a press-to-close zipper seal is a great option that secures the top of the pouch, reducing the risk of children being able to open it. Used in many different markets, properly certified child-resistant closures are the safest and most functional way to ensure that a reclosable, flexible package meets the requirements for special packaging as stated in the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. The zipper seal, which can be added to both stand-up pouches or lay-flat pouches, provides easy and reliable access for adults and can be opened and closed time and time again.

After you’ve created your child-resistant pouch, adding a labeling statement that touts this safety feature is recommended. The labeling helps consumers and healthcare professionals determine that the packaging is child resistant, which is a great thing since safety features like this ease concerned minds.

To use CR packaging statements on labeling, however, your package must comply with the applicable CPSC regulatory standards and test procedures for child-resistant packaging. (A note on testing: for a package to be deemed child resistant, 80% of the children tested according to the procedure must not be able to open the package during a full 10 minutes of testing).

As you work to design your package, we encourage you to read up on the rules and regulations surrounding child-resistant packaging.

Find a Child-Resistant Packaging Partner

Partnering with a supplier that offers certified child-resistant packaging options will ease your mind as you take your products to market. At ePac, we offer child-resistant pouches with press-to-close zippers that have been tested and certified by third-party agencies to meet federal test requirements provided in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, (CFR 16, Part 1700), and as referenced by A.S.T.M. D3475.  Contact us today and one of our flexible packaging experts will walk you through the package development process.