Child-resistant packaging to prevent poisoning in children (legislation)

Conclusion: Strong indications for effectiveness

Legislation on child-resistant packaging (for both medications and other toxic household substances) reduces the incidence of poisonings. Studies show a reduction of 34-45% in child mortality rate.

Recommendations (for research & practice)

The level of enforcement of the legislation will impact the effectiveness of the intervention. Furthermore, child resistant does not mean that the packaging is impenetrable for children: supervision of parents is still necessary. Studies of how children access poisons suggest that the most vulnerable time is when the poisons are in use and that safe packaging alone cannot compensate for unsafe storage or unsafe use. This illustrates the need for improved safety of home storage of medications and improved home dispencing practice.

Review Date: 28/04/2010
Version: 1.0
Status: Publish

Literature was searched that was published between 1996 and 2006 in English language. All kind of studies (reviews, controlled trials) were included. Two reviewers screened the results of the literature search independently and irrelevant studies were excluded, i.e. the article does not comprise [1] the evaluation or effectiveness, [2] the prevention of child injuries, [3] the specific preventive measure studied. Four articles were included in the literature study. The results of this literature study is reviewed by one expert.

Background documents

The effectiveness of child-resistant packaging for aspirin (version 1)
Gregory B. Rodgers (2002)

The safety effects of child-resistant packaging for oral prescription drugs : two decades of experience (version 1)
Gregory B. Rodgers (1996)

Evidence-based injury prevention and safety promotion : a review of concepts and studies (version 1)
Leif Svanstrom (1999)

Effectiveness of child-resistant packaging on toxin procurement in young poisoning victims (version 1)
Robert B. Lembersky, Michele H. Nichols, William D. King (1996)