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Child Resistant Closures

Child Resistant Closures

Child resistant closures help to significantly reduce the chances of a child accessing a drug or chemical. They are legally required on some medication and chemicals, and can be purchased from pharmacies for use on other products

Child resistant closures are not "child proof" They are designed to increase the time it takes for a younger child to access the medication or chemical.
They are "packaging that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for most children under five years of age to open or obtain a toxic amount of the substance within a reasonable time. It is not child proof packaging."

Types of Child Resistant Closure

Child resistant closures include both re-closeable and non re-closeable packaging.

Non re-closeable closures are packages like aluminium foil (strip packaging) or opaque/clear laminated plastic (blister packaging) generally contain a single tablet (such as a medicine or dishwasher tablet,)

Re-closeable packaging involves a container fitted with a re-closeable top, or a child safety cap such as the "Palm-n-Turn" or "Clic-Loc" variety (such as methylated spirits or dishwasher powders).

In New Zealand, child safety caps are required to meet the current New Zealand Standard (NZS 5825:1991). The majority of caps are mainly of the "palm-n-turn" variety. Recently on the market, there are the "3rd generation caps" available which allow an increased level of protection whilst providing easier access for adults.

General Prevention Advice

  • Child resistant closures need to be used correctly to be able to limit the chances of a poisoning. Turn it until you hear a click, and make sure you can't just pull it off

  • Always replace the child resistant closure correctly after each and every use. Never leave a lid off to make it easier to use the product; this also makes it easier for a child to be poisoned

  • Products with child resistant closures still need to be stored in a secure location.

List of Chemicals Requiring Child Resistant Closures

The following list is based on the 1998 Code of Practice for Child Resistant Packaging and Toxic Substance, produced by the Ministry of Health.

  • Alkaline salts -dishwasher powders
  • Alkaline salts -dishwasher liquids
  • Cineole
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil preparations containing greater than 50%
  • Eugenol
  • Hydrocarbons when packaged as kerosene, lamp oil, mineral turps, thinner, reducers, white petroleum spirits or dry cleaning fluids
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Melaleuca oil (tea tree oil)
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Methyl salicylate preparations containing greater than 50%
  • Oil of turpentine
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Sodium hydroxide

List of Medicines Requiring Child Resistant Closures

Under Pharmac it is a requirement under the Pharmacy Contractors Section 51 Advice Notice that child safety caps must be placed on the so called dirty dozen:

  • Paracetamol
  • Salicylates/NSAIDs
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Thyroxine
  • Antidepressants
  • Narcotics
  • Beta-2-agonists
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Theophylline
  • Iron salts
  • Digoxin
  • Phenothiazines


Related Resources
Child Resistant Packaging - A leaflet detailing the use of child-resistant packaging


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University of Otago NZ National Poisons Centre


Last updated 05/09/2007



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