New Options for Protecting Children


Child-resistant packaging has been on the minds of many this year. A number of packaging suppliers and contract packagers have introduced new designs aimed at making pharmaceutical packaging safe for use in homes with children, yet still convenient for adults to use. And all appear to have passed child-resistant, senior-friendly protocol testing quite smoothly.

In April, Alcan Packaging unveiled its new injection-molded, single-piece closure at Interpack 2002 in Dusseldorf, intended to replace traditional two-piece closures. Featuring an outer sleeve rotating around an inner sleeve, the closure can only be opened when two buttons are pressed while the cap is turned.

"We're very excited about this new product," said Managing Director Steve Isherwood of Alcan Packaging's Fibrenyle operation, which has factories in Beccles, Norwich, Thetford, and Sutton-in-Ashfield. "Its Button-Lock design is very elegant and offers a cost-effective alternative to existing child-resistant closures. We're so confident in the product that we're offering it as part of our standard range of containers and closures." Alcan has patented both the ergonomic design and the production process. The cap is available lined or unlined in 28-mm, 33-mm and 38-mm sizes, and it fits standard neck finishes. It can also be custom molded to suit specially designed containers. According to Isherwood, the device has passed test protocols for child resistance and is currently in production at Fibrenyle's Norwich factory.

Margo (Baie D'Urfé, QC, Canada), another of Alcan Packaging's companies, also debuted another child-resistant package this spring. Margo's Design Center coupled a standard unit-dose blister card with paperboard and a combination of various structural systems to create a child-resistant package. Called the Slide and Tear, the package is practically untearable but can be opened in three easy steps. Since the child-resistant features can be added to Margo's existing blister card designs, "there is no need to change the blister material, to conduct stability tests, or to change blister tooling," says Rick Sury, vice president, strategic partnerships and partnership services. Also passing protocol testing from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Sury says the package received the highest level of child resistance (F=1) and a near-perfect score in the senior-friendly portion of the tests.

This summer, Stull Technologies (Somerset, NJ) announced that the company's new child-resistant closure, the StullSure, passed protocol testing with a near-perfect success rate. Stull began developing the new one-piece flip-top closure in response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's child-resistant packaging requirements for personal care and cosmetic products containing 10% or more low-viscosity hydrocarbons by weight. Stull completed development in late May 2002.

The StullSure looks and functions like a standard flip-top closure to maintain a cosmetic-looking package. It uses a patent-pending locking device that snaps on to a bottle, hindering removal. "Since it is never removed from the bottle, the StullSure takes the responsibility away from the consumer, eliminating the risk associated with multipiece designs,"explains Robert Auer, director of product development. Jameson Stull, manager of sales engineering, adds, "We felt that consumers along with our customers would not welcome a bulky design, so our goal was to work backwards starting with a friendly closure like the flip-top. The overall project has exceeded our original expectations."

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