How effective is safety packaging?

Clin Toxicol. 1976;9(3):419-25. doi: 10.3109/15563657608988140.


Of 96 ingestions involving safety packaging, 82% involved misuse. The package in some way was unacceptable to the consumer--it was too difficult to open or too difficult to close. Nonacceptance by the elderly was not a significant factor. In only 18% of the safety packaged ingestions, did the child upen the package. The child was more likely to be able to open the screw-cap and the strip-pack. The pop-off and press-lift were not opened by any child but were types misused only by parents. The older child with a record of prior poisoning was most likely to open a safety package. These children would appear to represent a hard core of risk subjects refractory even to safety packaging. Safety packaging has had a dramatic effect on the morbidity and mortality of accidental poisoning. There are two remaining problems that require further study: 1. The analysis of technical factors impeding consumer acceptance and child proofing. The ideal package is so easily handled by the adult that misuse does not occur, but is too difficult for the child to open. 2. The personality characteristics of the safety-package-resistant child. Safety packaging, as implemented by the Comsumer Product Safety Commission, has had remarkable success. Education did not reduce accidental poisoning; safety packaging does. Pediatricians, pharmacists, and toxicologists must work with industry and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to complete the goal of elimination of accidental poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / poisoning
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Packaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poison Control Centers
  • Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Vitamins / poisoning


  • Vitamins
  • Aspirin