Child Proof Caps May Not Be So Child Proof

Tuesday, September 4th 2007, 9:00 pm
By: News On 6

The News On 6 has a warning for parents with small children. Child proof caps may not be so child proof. A scary situation for a Broken Arrow family shows that toddlers can get into pill bottles, even the ones with child safety caps. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims recruited a few 4-year-olds to put some child-resistant pill bottles to the test. She reports some adults have trouble opening child-resistant tops, but some studies say up to one in five toddlers have no problem.

Life flight picked up two young children from a Broken Arrow apartment complex in the 1400 block of East Omaha, Monday evening. Broken Arrow Police say the children, ages 2 and 3, apparently got into a medicine chest, opened a medicine bottle and ingested several of the pills. You might assume that the parents were careless, but police say they didn't do anything wrong.

"I mean the pills were in a hard to reach location, and they were in a child proof bottle,” said Broken Arrow Police Corporal Eric Van Horn. “I don't think they could have done anything different."

So just how easy is it for young children to get into a bottle of pills? The News On 6 did an experiment with four child resistant bottles, including the kind you squeeze and the kind you turn. All four bottles were rinsed out and filled with candy to see if two 4-year-olds, Marland Hill and Damani Burks, can open the bottles to get to the treats inside.

In a matter of seconds, Damani had the prescription drug bottle open. Just to make sure the bottle was capped properly, News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims tightened it and put it back on the table. But Damani was able to open it again; even her mother was a little shocked.

“I was surprised, but I wasn't surprised because she helps give me my medicine," Damani’s mother Wakel Burks said.

While the prescription drug bottle proved easy, the others seemed to earn their child-proof label. When twisting didn't work, Marland tried his mouth, he tried pushing on the top, and even banging it, but it would not open. But given the lure of skittles and enough time…

"Oh yeah, I opened it,” said 4-year-old Marland Hill.

“How did you get that one open?” asked News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims.

“Easy!" he said.

Wakel Burks, Damani's mother, says she's had a long talk with her daughter about grown up medicines. So even if the 4-year-old can get into the bottle, she knows not to take any pills.

"You have to talk to them about everything and you have to start at a young age as you can see," Burks said.

Our experiment was parent and principal supervised. Damani's mother says it reminded her to continue to be extra careful and to keep having that conversation about medicines.

Watch the video: Putting Childproof Caps To The Test