Child-resistant packages have evolved greatly since first being introduced more than five decades ago.

The locking closure commonly found on prescription bottles and over-the-counter medications were invented by Dr. Henri Breault in 1967. Fifty years later, packaging companies have developed innovative child-resistant packaging that gives manufacturers better options to package their products and stay compliant with federal regulations.

Shortly after Dr. Breault’s invention, the United States passed the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. Although initially enforced by the FDA, the jurisdiction was transferred in 1973 to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

The Inception of Child-Resistant Packaging

History of child-resistant packaging through scholarly articles and internet blogs both show Dr. Breault may not have been the first to invent a cap that keeps children’s little hands at bay. In the mid-1980s, a group of archaeologists from the University of Texas at San Antonio traveled to Guatemala to investigate the Rio Azul ruins. What they found on the site built in 500 BCE was a bottle they had a hard time opening. 

The Mayans weren’t trying to keep little hands out of medication, they were protecting the revered cacao. 

According to “Chocolate: Pathway to Gods,” authors Meredith Dreiss and Sharon Greenhill write about the archaeologist’s discovery of a “polychrome and stuccoed pot with a rare ‘child-proof’ interlocking lid.” The pot was scraped, and Hershey Chocolate Company’s lab tested the substance – it was, in fact, chocolate. 

Whether the idea originated from Dr. Breault or the Mayans, the invention of the modern-day “Palm-and-Turn” cap has saved many children’s lives. In his home of Ontario, they saw a 25 percent drop in child poisonings. 

That invention and the innovative designs that came after it is one of the “best-documented successes in preventing the unintentional poisoning of children,” according to The World Health Organization and UNICEF’s World Report on Child Injury Prevention. 

Innovative child-resistant packaging has offered safety for children, as well as attractive design to help companies make their products aesthetically pleasing. 

Long gone is the sole option of stiff, hard-to-use containers with limited design options. Flexible containers with zip closures in an array of sizes give options that are more effective, easier to use, and less expensive to ship/store. The sleek design offer companies more real estate to market their product on the package, and the press-to-close closures offer the needed safety. While Breault’s invention is a key packaging option for both pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medication, the sky’s the limit with the innovative child-resistant packaging available today. 

 

Dymapak The Innovative Packaging Co.

Dymapak The Innovative Packaging Co.