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Looking After Little Ones

As physicians become more reliant on prescribing medications to treat illness instead of advocating preventive measures, the risks associated with accidental medication poisonings is increasing. In the UK, approximately 50% of the population take prescription medicine, while in the US the figure is over 60% (1-2). These figures are not quoted to reflect in any way on cases genuinely requiring prescription medication. However, they do provide an insight into the volume of drugs in circulation and, with this, the scale of potential risk to children. Poison centres in the US treat 60,000-70,000 children each year for accidental ingestion.

Advancements in packaging technology, such as soluble packs, films and more, are undoubtedly to be viewed as progress. Despite this, it is questionable whether there is a parallel effort in creating the child-resistant packaging necessary to ensure these products are safe for the environments they occupy. While Mercola reports that pain medications are the single most frequent cause of fatalities from accidental medication poisonings in children, household products still present an alarming number of ingestion cases (3). In terms of medicine, the category of substances with the largest number of deaths across all ages – including intentional use of opioids in teens – are medications containing acetaminophen, sedatives, sleeping medications, stimulants and cardiovascular drugs. In regard to household products, the most common issue is becoming the soluble-packed alkaline detergents.

An abundance of information and creative solutions are available to the packaging industry. With the ease-of-access to online resources, manufacturers are able to appraise themselves in consumer and regulatory concerns, and safety is no exception. However, there is possibly a lack of understanding as to what truly constitutes child-resistant packaging, as well as a preparedness to await regulatory obligation before introducing protection.

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Richard Quelch attended The University of Hull, UK, where he studied marketing and advertising. He went on to work across many large marketing agencies, supporting brand packaging developments. Richard joined Origin Pharma Packaging in 2015, strategically working on the brand to position the company in its rightful place: providing excellence in child-resistant packaging for the pharma industry. He aspires to educate the industry and ensure it is driving its ethical duty to protect children. Over the past two years, the organisation has become a thought leader in innovations for child-resistant packaging and continues to work with pharma manufacturers and contract manufacturing organisations across the globe in creating compliant child-resistant packaging and ensuring the safety of children in domestic environments.
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