Do you ever have trouble with childproof caps?

Hey everyone I'm a student in the university of Wales institute Cardiff and I'm redesigning childproof lids to make them easier to get in to for adults and harder for children to get into. I was inspired to do this after i read a story about a woman who had to ask her grandchild to open her medicine and cleaning bottles. I knew that the caps needed to be redesigned to make them truly childproof rather than adult proof.

I was wondering if you could maybe give me some advice or if there any problems you have had? Or perhaps if there is a specific type of child proof cap you have trouble with or any specific brand. Do you ever find that you need to ask for someone’s help to open anything?Does asking for help bother you at all?

Thank you all for reading my post and a special thanks to anyone who writes to me your all very kind.

36 Replies

  • Where would you like me to start. Bottles,i can't open any without help.If i buy a a drink in a shop i have to ask the shop assistant to open it for me. Medicines,I have trouble with the foil ones that hold the tablets.

    Well done to you,i am proud of you for trying to help us ra victims!!


  • Hi,

    Really hope you manage to crack this problem.

    I have same problems as Sylvi has told you about, which is probably the same as all of us RA sufferers.

    The really big problem for me is squeezing (or pinching) and then turning the lid. (I have managed it a couple of times with a pair of nutcrackers but of course not all of the lids are small enough to fit)

    Good luck

    Judi xxxx

  • I've has trouble with opening every kind of top like Sylvi but am improving now I've been doing hand exercises daily and my wrists are much better. My main problem lay with squeezing and this is still hard because RA often goes for the knuckles and the middle joints on fingers and also tendons and wrists (ulnar joints especially for many). I already have some gadgets but the OT could find nothing to help me with squeezing tubes and bottles.

    For me the very worst things to open are those that ask you to squeeze and the twist - often drink bottles that ask you to squeeze the sides and then turn. But if you can devise a simple contraption that helps with gripping and squeezing they are the two I have to ask help with most often. It is embarassing asking for help if people don't know you have RA if you are younger and not in the perceived arthritis category. Well done for thinking of this important area of design and good luck. TT

  • Thank you both for your very useful feed back. I was wandering

    how do you feel about the push and twist caps that are available on some bottles?

  • sorry i meant to write thank you to all three of you :)

  • For me the push and turn ones aren't quite as bad as the squeeze and turn because you can always push down with palm or body weight although if wrists and shoulders are bad then this is also impossible too - but then almost everything is! TT

  • I can't manage the push and turn ones at all half the time - soo frustrating, especially when the little one has a raging temperature and I can't get into the Calpol!

    I've never come accross the squeeze and turn ones but they sound like a nightmare too!

  • Squeeze and turn are totally impossible because I can't squeeze, and push & turn ones it depends on the size as I need 2 hands and if the bottle is small then just impossible. I would like bottles to be redesigned so that it needs an adult intelligence to open them not adult strength. For example there used to be bottles where you had to line up 2 arrows before the top could be lifted off - this wouldn't work for elderly with poor eyesight, but something more along those lines would be great.

  • I was thinking exactly the same - what happened the line the arrows up type?!

  • I agree lining up two lines would be great, but if raised slightly it may work for the unsighted as they use touch for brail etc.,

  • Right now i am playing with the ideas of copying japanese puzzle boxes and a magnet key chain. do you think it would be easier if you had a magnetic key chain that worked on all child locks? That way the kids could never get into it but with the keyring the lid just comes streight off.

  • Domestos bleach bottles - squeeze and turn. Drink bottles which need sufficient strength to break the sealed plastic ring attached to the top. Tablet jars that need to be pressed down and turned at the same time. Ring pull cans. Jam jars. Wine bottles, corkscrews, toothpaste with a push down cap,...

    The sheer frustration! And the pain.

    Good luck with your research project. Japanese puzzles? I must look them up.

    Might I suggest (if you haven't done already), that you look at the gadgets that we currently depend on. "J levers" for ring pulls, rubber fabric for jam jar lids, the JarKey, ... I have a house full! That's fine when I'm at home, but no good anywhere else!

  • Small things can be a bit hard if your hands are bad, but the puzzle concept could be ok as long as doesn't become a game for kids. Not so sure about needing a separate thing as would be easy to mislay.

  • I too have exactly the same problem with the squeeze and turn tops and nearly all the medicines whether its the push down and turn medicine tops ( I have to ask my son to open it himself before i give it to him!) and also the tablets that you have to push out of the hard foil - some you really have to cut the foil with your nail before the little tablet will come out! It makes everything a lot harder when both your hands dont work properly so you cant squeeze, twist or grip well or manage tiny tablets well, i tend to tip them into my palm and then into my mouth as if i had to try and pick one up, no doubt it would ping off in another direction and i would never find it again!! My 10 year old son now helps me dish out my tablets into my weekly medicine holder so its all set for the week and he does all the child-proof caps and pushing out of foil ones for me into a saucer and i then put them into the correct days!!

    Thank you for trying to make this easier for us

    Sue Ross

  • I have problems with both the tops that you have to squeeze before opening and the ones where you have to push down and twist. Not enough grip in my hands. I also have a lot of problems with pushing out the foil-wrapped medications especially if the tablet is small or `squishy'.

  • I can echo Tilda, Helixhelix, Phoebe and Swooge and Joan! That pretty well covers all the bases. Even the toothpast is impossible! I have to lay the tube on the sink, press down with the heel of my left hand, hope to catch some on my toothbrush, of if I hit an airpocket, push harder and then scrape some off the side of the sink!! Every day!! Loret xx

  • Re the toothpaste suggest you get the pump ones Loret - that way you only have to push down no squeezing - used to think they were a waste of plastic but now think them a godsend! Holding the toothbrush is hard for me still but getting easier with finger exercises and a big rubber handle on my toothbrush.

    Re the foil blister packs my OT gave me a thing a bit like a hole punch/ stapler for pushing into the foil and the tablet comes away into the arm of the puncher but it only works for a certain size of tablet which is frustrating. My brand of paracetamol are the worst! TT

  • I decant creams into a travel bottle with nozzle and squeeze that as it does not require alot of pressure to sqeeze the contents out - its a soft 100 ml bottle, whereas my skin moisture is 300ml a bit heavy and needs alot of squeezing.

    Hate blister packs also - I always thought it was just me that struggled? How wrong was I???

    Sci x

  • Hi

    Can't squeeze & turn. Either together or separate. Don't have enough strentgh to squeeze. I hate them.

    Some cleaning stuff for the toilet/bathroom are a problem also as they employ the same mechanism as medicine tab bottles. The shine stuff for dishwasher also is like that.

    Hope that helps

    Sci x

  • I have a problem with bleach bottles --- i usually let hot water run over the top -- then the plastic is easier to squeeze !! It works most of the time -- but they still hurt my hands !!


  • My mother in law has always had a pair of rusty old pliers in her bathroom. When I asked why, she said it helps her to squeeze the toothpaste!!

    I like to use my rolling pin on tubes of tomato puree, and it tends to squirt everywhere.

    This thread is turning into a list of hints and tips!

  • I have to admit the helps and tips are helping allot. Im finding it easier to design new ways of opening bottles with what you all have said :)

  • It is because we have reduced force/ strength in our hands fingers that we cant undo the tops or squeeze, I had mine assessed by the physio dept with some kind of gauge device.I find push and turn or squeeze difficult and even line up and flip up difficult

  • i have trouble with the squeeze and turn bleach type lids and the push and turn medication bottles. when my hands are really bad even the tablet strips with foil are a problem. the magnetic lids you mentioned sound interesting. good luck in your designing :-)

  • Hi "Radesign"

    The squeeze and turn -bleach- bottle caps can sometimes be opened by inserting the sides to be squashed in the hinge side of the door, tightening up by closing the door, then turning the bottle...... failing this I use my serrated knife as a saw and saw the top off just below the cap!!

    Push down and turn tops are impossible with fused wrists.....

    To me child safety tops are so dangerous because the likes of us lot leave tops off or loose once we're into the contents! Plus a high shelf is unreachable for us for these dangerous bottles.

    A jar top can be opened by whacking it on a hard floor along the edge of the metal lid.

    Another packaging type which is a struggle is the plastic card type as used in batteries for example.

    Good luck with your ideas.........Hopalong

  • Most older people have some degree of limitation, as far as opening bottles goes - even those without RA. There are two of us at home - no kids - so why do we need childproof caps in our house? No we do not have children visit, who could gain access to our cupboards. I would like to see a "key" provided for adults to "lock" the caps. Although I would like to be able to leave them unlocked myself!

  • I have no trouble with opening "push-down" caps as on medicine bottles.

    I'm age 65 and cannot open the "squeeze-sides" caps found on bleach bottles and most mouthwashes. I have to get help every time.

    I've tried to buy a gadget to do this but the one I bought only handles the push-down types that I can do anyway.

    Can you suggest a gadget?

  • I have often said you should be able to buy non child proof items like loo cleaner I have to leave the lid resting on the top once hubby has opened it! Any drink I can't open I have to ask someone else. I have in my notes at the the chemist no child proof bottles. I do have a little hat that is can use to open jars at home was given by the NHS back in the days when they gave you aids for free

    I agree though the push and turn ones are just impossible

  • Squeezing and pressing at the same time for pills if you have inflamed hands. Why don't you try putting on oversized gardening gloves and you'll get an idea what it can be like for us. Good luck with the lids

  • I do not have RA, but in old age my hands are weak. I hope you can design a simple tool to squeeze & turn the lids off mouthwash & bleach. I use scissors to cute the bubble wrap off individual sealed pills. I use a sharp knife to stab & puncture the plastic tabs on catsup & mustard bottles as the little tab is too slippery to grip with fingers. So far I've not cut myself. Why don't manufacturers add ridges to that slippery tab handle to assist grip? Once the lids have been removed I leave them off & cover with foil or plastic wrap and rubber band. Good luck to you in this endeavor as it is a badly needed area for a lot of people.

  • not only I can't open caps, I have so much trouble turning cap to the 'arrow' to line up and try to open the cap!

  • push, squeeze, turn, twist, anything that takes double motion I have a terrible time!

  • As we don't have kids, I usually ask the pharmacist for regular screw off lids to avoid this problem. But the push down and twist are usually the worst. At the worst times I get my husband to open them and put them in little baggies. Then I don't have to fuss at all.

  • Most of the time I have problem with Push&Turn safety caps and I always mumble to my husband that these caps will let more people die while opening, then hurting any child. If the parents are stupid enough to let child take any serious medicine then that child will get into trouble one way or other. They should not be reachable by any children.

    Today, I had to buy Afrin Spray before I go to four other stores for 1-2 things that ware urgent. But, I just could not open that stupid cap, trying over and over with my bad flu and runny nose, I almost about to sit and cry. After I got all my thing, I went back to that store at Farmacy desk and I asked that, I need different kind of help.

    I bought this 2-hrs ago, but I just couldn't open this cap! THIS IS RIDICULOUS !! I FELT MORE SICK INSTEAD OF MAKING ME FEEL BETTER.

    I try to find some place to complain this.

    I am a retired Quality Engieer, 62 Yr old female, not illiterate to understand. WHAT WOULD OTHER OLDER PEOPLE WOULD DO IF THEY CAN't GET OUT OF BED AND NEED SERIOUS MEDICIN. I hope You can do something about this. or redesign these caps.

  • Squeeze and turn, such as mouthwash bottle caps are impossible! Please help us!

  • As soon as I have got someone else to open them, they stay open. My daughter is 13 so well past the age where I need childproof caps.

    If you ask a pharmacist to put your medicine in containers which you can actually open then they should. Surely if they didn't even knowing that could stop you from accessing your medication that would be discrimination.

    I don't like the squeeze and turn but the push and turn are really painful on my wrists.

    Anyone with half an ounce of common sense would keep medicines well out of the reach and sight of small children.

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