Science project

Childproof or Not?

Difficulty of Project

Less than $20.00 

Safety Issues
Material Availability

Gather 3 empty childproof containers each with a different way of opening 

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

May take up to 5 days to collect the date; one day to prepare the science fair display 


To determine whether childproof containers are really childproof 

Materials and Equipment

  • 3 empty childproof containers (each must have a different way of opening)
  • Stopwatch 

Background Information

Childproof containers have been developed to prevent young children from harming themselves by taking too much medicine or coming into contact with harmful substances. Unfortunately, many childproof containers are not really childproof. 

In this investigation, different childproof containers are tested to see how childproof they really are. 

Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research


childproof: not able to be opened by a child  


Childproof containers were invented to keep children from being accidentally poisoned by medicine and toxic household products.  

Research Questions
  • What were childproof containers invented to prevent?
  • How do childproof containers work?
  • Are child proof containers really childproof?
  • Can a young child learn how to open a childproof container? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather the childproof containers. Be sure the containers are empty and have been thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Select five subjects who are all four years old. Most school science projects require permission slips for all subjects used in science investigations. Be sure to get all the necessary forms signed.
  3. Show one of the subjects one of the three containers. Tell the subject that he or she has one minute to try and open the container. Use the stopwatch to time one minute. Record the results.
  4. Repeat Step 3 with the other childproof containers.
  5. Next, show the subject how to open the first childproof container. Then give the subject one more minute to try and open the container. Use the stopwatch to time one minute. Record the results.
  6. Repeat Step 5 with the other childproof containers.
  7. Repeat Steps 3 – 6 with each of the subjects. 



“Child Resistant Does Not Mean Childproof” at 

“Poisoning” at 

“Poison Prevention Tips” at

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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