Children's Safety Problems in Product Packaging and Countermeasures

The healthy growth of children is related to the future and development of the entire society. Especially in China, the number of families with only children is increasing, and the healthy development of children becomes more and more important.


However, unfortunately, in recent years, there have been many cases of children accidentally taking adult drugs, desiccant wounds in children's food packaging bags, children's choking events caused by jelly, poisoned milk powder incidents in Fuyang, Anhui Province, toy wounding events, etc. . Behind these tragic events, we found that most of them are related to the irrational or irregularity of product packaging. In order to avoid the recurrence of such tragic events, it is necessary to systematically analyze the child safety issues in product packaging and find out the corresponding countermeasures.


1. Problems with the packaging structure


The majority of incidents in which children mistakenly took adult drugs or toxic chemical products were caused by children opening their caps without their families’ attention, and none of these products were child-safely packaged. The so-called child safety packaging refers to a package that protects children's safety. Its design structure makes it difficult for children under 5 years of age to open or remove a certain amount of contents within a reasonable time. In fact, children's safety covers used in medicine include: pressure-cap, squeeze-screw cap, password cap, press-pull cap, lock-type safety cap, labyrinth safety cap, pull cap and other forms [2], and The effect was good. However, because children's safety packaging started late in China, it did not attract enough attention, and the adoption of children's safe packaging inevitably increased the cost of packaging. Therefore, a considerable number of pharmaceutical companies have not adopted it yet.


Second, the structural dimensions of some product packaging are not designed properly.


For example, the occurrence of suffocating deaths in children caused by the continuous occurrence of jelly has to a large extent related to improper shape, size, and packaging methods, especially the problem of small cup jelly. The small, cup-shaped jelly can be sucked and eaten because of its small size. The size of this small, cup-shaped jelly is exactly the same as the size of a child's throat. When the child squeezes the jelly, it is very likely that the entire jelly will be sucked into the throat to cause asphyxiation and death. In particular, the pharynx of children under 3 years of age is not yet mature, and it is easier to block the trachea when it is sucked, causing serious consequences. On April 13, 2004, the European Commission decided to ban the sale of children's jelly jelly mini-cups. Such jelly must be withdrawn from the shelves of all member states because the product's toughness, shape and size may cause children to suffocate. The safety instructions on the label are not sufficient to protect children's safety. In China, despite the fact that the Chinese Consumer Association has widely called for changes in the shape and size of the jelly, we can still see this small cup of jelly on the shelves of various supermarkets. I wonder how many innocent children will suffer.


2. Packaging materials and technical problems


Many children's food products suffer from deterioration in quality and even spoilage due to their tendency to absorb moisture. Therefore, a certain amount of desiccant is often placed in the packaging bag to reduce the humidity inside the packaging bag to keep the food dry. This packaging technique is also known as Moisture-proof packaging. The commonly used desiccants in foods are quicklime and silica gel. Lime desiccants are mostly powdered and accidentally disassembled and sprayed into the eye, resulting in eye injury and severe vision loss. Once eaten, it will burn the mouth or esophagus, and it will also cause damage to the skin and mucous membranes. Silica gel is translucent and granular, and its color and shape are more beautiful. It is more likely to cause children to eat. The desiccant wounding events that occurred in recent years are basically caused by lime desiccant. Although desiccant packaging bags are marked with the words “inedible” and “If you accidentally get into your eyes, please rinse with water or find a doctor”, etc. However, these young children and illiterate elderly people are useless. Therefore, non-toxic and non-hazardous materials should be used for desiccants in children's foods. If it is necessary to use dangerous desiccants, the desiccant can be packaged in wrapping paper that is difficult for children to tear.


At present, many businesses use various promotion methods to increase their sales volume. One of them is to put small toys in children's food packaging bags. This design captures the children's psychological characteristics and it really does a good job. Promotional role. However, this practice can bring certain hidden dangers to children. For example, certain toys' materials may cause pollution in interior foods. Some toys may be eaten as food by young children, thus causing physical and mental harm to children. hurt.


Thus, in order to ensure the safety of children, the vast majority of product manufacturers and packaging designers should realistically consider children and improve them from the aspects of packaging materials, packaging technology and methods, and must not be influenced by the word “benefit”. To the healthy growth of the next generation.


3. Problems caused by non-standard text descriptions on the packaging


At present, various kinds of toy wounding incidents are endless. According to statistics from the Beijing Children's Hospital, as many as dozens of cases of toy damage to children are reported annually in this hospital [5]. Some of these cases are due to design and manufacturing deficiencies, while others are caused by incomplete text on toy packages. A considerable number of toys do not have the name, address, and product certification on the logo. They also lack relevant instructions and safety warnings. For example, many toy packs do not have a suitable age range, so that young children can play for older children. Toys are prone to safety problems. Based on the above reasons, from January 1, 1998, the State Bureau of Technical Supervision promulgated and implemented the National Standard for <Toy Instructions for Use> (hereinafter referred to as the "Standard"), which stipulated the 12 aspects of the instructions for use of toys. Such as product name, product model, applicable age range, safety warning, etc. In particular, warning signs and instructions should be printed or pasted at prominent places.


The safety issues caused by incomplete text on the packaging also appear in the instructions for the use of drugs. For example: Many medicines are often written on the dose of "children reduce it," in the end how a subtraction? People are scratching their heads. A parent in Sichuan gave a quick-acting cold medicine to a baby who had a cold for 8 months. According to the instruction manual, 2 to 3 capsules, 3 times a day, "decrease" to one capsule at a time. Unexpectedly, after 10 minutes of feeding, the child develops a blue complexion and begins to twitch. Fortunately, the hospital was sent to the hospital in time to avoid the disaster. [6]. From this we can see that there are great safety risks in the description of the dosage in our drug instruction manual.


In addition, a common feature of counterfeit and inferior products is the lack of detailed product descriptions, lack of information such as factory name, site, product certification, and production date.


4. Countermeasures


Children's safety problems in product packaging are endangering the health of children from time to time. As packaging workers, we have the responsibility to make efforts to prevent such problems from recurring.


The author believes that the following measures need to be taken:


1) Drugs, dangerous goods, cosmetics, detergents, etc. should be as safe as possible. At the same time, the research and development of children's safe packaging will be strengthened, and more cost-effective children's safe packaging will be developed, which is beneficial to the widespread use of children's safe packaging by manufacturers.


2) Packaging design should be "people-oriented", especially for children's products, "child-oriented", from the packaging structure, packaging materials and even the use of packaging instructions to practically consider the children's physical and psychological characteristics, to facilitate the safe use of children, the establishment of "Safety first" and "Life is priceless" design concept.


3) Actively promote the promulgation and implementation of various packaging safety laws and regulations, and increase supervision. Products that do not meet the relevant packaging management standards must not enter the shelf and eliminate unsafe goods from the source.


4) Popularize consumer knowledge and improve consumers' own quality. To truly eliminate children's safety issues in product packaging, consumers must have a certain ability to identify, if the majority of parents know the method of identification of regular milk powder, can be identified from the packaging of Fuyang, Anhui poisoned milk powder, the packaging of shoddy products The ingredients are not clear and so on.


5. Conclusion


It is the responsibility of every one of our citizens to pay attention to the healthy growth of children. This article analyzes existing child safety issues from the perspective of product packaging, and gives corresponding countermeasures. The purpose is to hope that the children's safety problems in product packaging will cause all parties (package designers, manufacturers, government management departments, and consumers) to pay enough attention, and we will work together to reduce the recurrence of such problems.

(Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University Wang Yan)


Reproduced from: Shanghai Packaging

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