19 News investigates how child safety product testing works

Published: Jun. 25, 2019 at 11:03 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -19 News is investigating the dangers of torch oil and why more children are getting sick from accidentally drinking the fluid.

We’re also looking into just what designates a dangerous package as child resistant.

Four-year-old twins Emma and Jessa demonstrated how testing works on child resistant packaging.

Great Lakes Marketing Research in Toledo is just one of a handful of companies across the nation that do child resistant packaging testing. Their program is called Operation Safe Child.

In order for a company to have a certified child resistant package, they have to pass a few tests by these experts. kids and toddlers. Great Lakes Marketing Research President, Lori Mitchell Dixon explains how it works.

“The children get five minutes to try and open the package and if neither them or either of them doesn’t open it in the first five minutes, they’re given a demonstration. We show them how to open the package. We do not tell them how to open the package,” explained Mitchell Dixon.

19 News had the twins test out a bottle of lamp torch fluid.

According to the Ohio Poison Control Center, last spring and summer there were more than 100 calls for kids under six who ingested the dangerous chemicals.

In a normal testing procedure, there would be 50 kids trying to open the bottle. It's considered child resistant if the package prevents 80 percent of kids from being able to open it.

If it doesn’t pass, Mitchell Dixon said they are not allowed to put that product in the marketplace.

This packaging passed our demo test. At the end, all child testers get a very important lesson, so they don’t try it at home. Operation Safe Child tests hundreds of packages each year.

Mitchell Dixon said it's important to keep in mind, if packages pass their tests, they're considered child resistant not child proof.

"It's the obligation of the family and the parents to make sure anything that's in a safety package is stored correctly, up and away and out of sight of the kids,” Mitchell Dixon said.

Packages are only child resistant when used correctly. When closing a bottle, the lid should be on tightly.

"The reason why safety packages work is because it takes two motions,” Mitchell Dixon explained.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, most exposures to kids from toxins like lamp torch fluid happen at home.

That’s why Operation Safe Child continues to test products and encourage parents to store packages up and away.

"Even really good packages, some kids will be able to get into them,” she said.

There can be some dangerous products on the marketplace that don’t have child resistant caps. Those must be specifically labeled as not for households with small children.

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