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4 Key Components of Child Resistant Packaging

Many of the regulations that exist in the packaging industry exist to protect consumer safety, and perhaps no group is more vulnerable and in need of protection than children. Many products intended for use by adults, from cleaning agents to medications and pesticides, can be harmful or even deadly if ingested by a child. For this reason, the state and federal governments, along with other regulatory bodies, have developed regulatory guidelines designed to impede children from gaining access to dangerous products.

Child resistant packaging has always been important to the pharmaceutical industry, but a new product type has emerged with the increasing legalization of medical and recreational use of marijuana. Cannabis products, particularly those edibles which mimic the appearance of candies and other products attractive to children, need to have safe, appropriately labeled packaging to keep children out.

1. Opening Mechanism

We are all familiar with the child-resistant lids on medications, that require you to both apply downward pressure and twist the lid counter-clockwise at the same time to open the container. Though this is probably the most widely-recognized type of child resistant opening mechanism, it is far from the only option. For a product to be in compliance with most CR packaging guidelines, often the folding carton itself must have a CR design and prevent child access. Guidelines state that the CR packaging must be very difficult to open for children under the age of five, while still being easy enough for adults to open with relative ease.

2. Opacity of Packaging

In some states, their regulation/codes require that the packaging containing the cannabis product is opaque (not see through) making it impossible for a casual observer to identify its contents, as well as how much is left. Opaque containers allow the purchase to remain discreet after leaving the dispensary or during later user.

3. Messaging and Warning Labels

Cannabis Facts JB label

From choking hazards to potentially harmful medications, warning labels exist to ensure that consumers are aware of the risks and can therefore take steps to protect themselves and any children from harm. In an emerging market like cannabis products, there are very strict, explicit and ever changing labeling requirements. Depending on the cannabis product and the state, labels must contain information such as THC levels, dosages, and strain type to name a few.

4. Child Resistant Package Testing

To ensure that a container is sufficiently child resistant, state guidelines may require that the packaging that holds the cannabis must undergo testing in an independent and accredited lab to assess whether the packaging passes CR testing guidelines. The federal CR testing guidelines for CR packaging specify giving five-year-old children an opportunity to attempt to open the packaging for a specified amount of time. The success/fail of the packaging’s ability to prevent child access is evaluated at the 10 minute mark and at some longer intervals of time. The majority of children should have significant difficulties with this task, and find it impossible to open the product. On the other hand, testing is also necessary to ensure that adults, particularly seniors, are able to access the packaging with reasonable ease.

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