US 3343709 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
E. HENDERSON SAFETY CLOSURE sept. ze, 1967 Filed March 24, 1967 \VII I /IIIIIIIIIIII ATT@Y EYS United States Patent O 3,343,709 SAFETY CLOSURE Edward Henderson, 220 Central Park S., New York, N.Y. 10019 Filed Mar. 24, 1967, Ser. No. 625,719 7 Claims. (Cl. 220-41) ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to safety closures for containers for pills, tablets or the like` The medical profession has long been deeply concerned over the number of accidental deaths of infants, especially twoand three-year-olds, from poisoning by ingestion of various kinds of pills, tablets and the like. In many instances, as with aspirin, the substance is not lethal in usually indicated doses but becomes so where excessive numbers of pills or tablets are swallowed.
Efforts have been made, with little success, to supply a pill package or dispenser of such construction as to defy the ingenuity of small children bent upon releasing the contents.
Among such devices are those incorporating features such, for example, as shown in the U.S. patents to Waterman 2,722,309 and 2,692,698 and to Butner 2,899,047. Also, a large pharmaceutical manufacturing concern has marketed certain of its tablets or pill products in a container having some features shown in Waterman 2,722,- 309.
As early as 1955 the Committee on Toxicology of the Council on Pharmacology and Chemistry of the A.M.A. recommended that Salicylates should be packaged to make accidental access more difficult, e.g., individual wrapping in metal or plastic foil or type of closure that cannot be removed by a child, preferably a top that automatically closes.
In September 1966, Dr. James L. Goddard, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifying before the congressional committee relating to the Child Welfare Act, in reply to the question whether or not a practical safety closure for drug containers is available, stated We are not sure there is one, but the purpose of the law is to encourage development of suitable closures.
My own inspection of pill and tablet dispensers exposed in drug stores reveals that no satisfactory safety closure is there available.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention has been to provide an effective closure for drug containers which will be appropriate in dispensing a wide variety of pills, tablets, etc., and will materially reduce the likelihood of accidental discharge of the contents or removal thereof by children.
It is contemplated that this favorable result may be achieved in the use of a package -having a discharge opening normally and automatically closed by two independently retractable spring-pressed or biased gates which in operation must be held simultaneously in open position against the biasing force. This arrangement calls for great- 3,343,709 Patented Sept. 26, 17967 ICC er ingenuity on the childs part to discover that both said gates must be held open at the same time in order to release the contents of the container.
A dispenser for tablets, pills or the like including safety closure features according to my invention comprises in general a container wherein wall portions have a discharge opening, a slot at each end thereof and guide channels including overlapping end portions extending across the width of said opening. Two spring-pressed gates are operatively mounted one in each channel with an outer or operative end portion normally extending across and closing said opening and with said operative end portions overlapping to provide in effect a double closure. Each gate has a finger piece or knob extending outwardly through one of said slots whereby said gate may be manually retracted to open position against spring resistance independently of the other; and the extent of endwise` movement of s-uch gates is conveniently limited by engagement of their knobs with the opposed end walls of said slots. The arrangement and mounting of the gates are such that said discharge opening is normally closed against discharge of the tablets, or the like, by one or both of said gates and is not open for discharging tablets unless both gates are held simultaneously in retracted or open position against the spring resistance.
Other objects and distinctive features of my invention will appear from consideration of the following descrip-A tion and claims and by reference to the accompanying illustrative drawings wherein FIG. 1 is a side view in perspective of one form of -dispenser embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view on enlarged scale in section from the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view on the line 3 3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary View in section on the line 4-4 vof FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a view partly in vertical section illustrating a modification wherein the closure is incorporated in a cap or cover for a bottle, jar, can or the like which carries the supply of tablets, pills or the like, to be dispensed.
Referring to the drawings, it appears that my invention may be embodied in various types of containers or packages. As seen in FIG. 1, the dispenser includes a generally flat box 10 having safety closure means more clearly shown in FIG. 2. Thus, an end wall of box 10 is provided with a discharge opening 11. The opposed sidewalls have the slots 12 and 13, respectively. Said end and side walls are conveniently provided by the cooperating peripheral flanges 14, 15 of shells A and B advantageously of plastic as polyethylene or the like and which are retained in permanent assembled relation by suitable securing or interlocking means. Thus, as an example, flange 14 on one of said shells, as A in FIG. 4, is provided with notches or grooves 16 positioned and adapted to be operatively engaged by and interlocked with latches 17 extending inwardly from the flange o-f theopposed shell B. Where the parts are made of plastic, or other suitable locally flexible material, it is contemplated that they may not only be conveniently produced by conventional apparatus and procedures but also may readily be locked or otherwise secured together permanently in operative box forming relation with a supply of pills or the like enclosed therein. Thereafter, the contents are accessible only after discharge through said opening 11.
To render removal of the box contents more diicult for small children, opening 11 is controlled by two independently operable gates which are normally springbiased and thus automatically pressed into and retained in closing position, i.e. with their outer end portions extending in overlapping relation across said opening 11.
Accordingly, said opening is advantageously controlled by the slidable gates 18 and 19, conveniently formed from suitable plastic parts or stripsvwhich, in the dimensions employed, are relatively flexible. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, gate 18 rides endwise in a guide channel 20 provided in the opposed interengaging or contacting edge surfaces of the anges of parts A and B. An elongated recess 21 houses a spring 22 or other suitable resilient or compressible member, the outer end of which bears against the inner end of gate 1S and the inner end of which bears against one side of a partition at 23. An actuating lug or knob 24 projects from gate 18 through slot 12. The operative closing end portion of outer gate 1S, as seen in closed position, FIG. 2, normally extends across and automatically closes opening 11. Similarly, the operative closing end portion of inner gate 19 also normally extends across and provides a second automatic closure for opening 11.
As seen in FIG. 2, abutments 25 and 26 are provided in the box wall adjacent the ends of opening 11. It will be seen that the outer end of the operative or closing portion of gate 18, when in closing position, is engaged in a recess, as at 20, FIG. 2, in part deiined by a portion of abutment 26.
In mounting and -mode of operation, gate 19 having knob 29 is similar to gate 18, being biased into closing position by spring 27 and having its end engaged in recess 28 when in that position. j
To liberate a pill or the like through opening 11, said gates are retracted to open position by manually actuating knobs 24 and 29 against resistance of said springs. An adult or discreet user may, if desired or convenient, move both knobs simultaneously in the direction of the arrows, FIG. 2, to clear the opening 11. However, if an infant has possession of the dispenser and attempts to release the contents, it is contemplated that he is unlikely to retract both gates together or .to hold one gate open while he retr-acts the other. Thus, the herein described safety closure fulfills the requirement laid down by Ithe A.M.A. that it automatically closes when retracting force on the gate bia-sing springs is released.
In the modification, FIG. 5, a container or package in the form of a bottle 30, or the like, is provided with a cover or cap 31 permanently secured thereto after it has received the desired supply of pills, etc. Said cover is provided with a discharge opening 32 which is conf trolled by spring biased gates 33, 34 mounted to slide in guide channels corresponding in function to those provided in the above described embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 4. Gate 33 has a knob 3S and gate 34 has a knob 36. By manual actuation the user may retract one of said gates at a time, or may retract and hold both thereof out of closing relation to opening 32 against resistance of springs 37 and 38, respectively. With this embodiment of the invention, it is likewise contemplated that the novel control whereby opening 32 is automatically closed and normally retained in closed condition, will prove elective in reducing the number of infant deaths from accidental ingestion of drugs commonly dispensed in pill, tablet or capsule form.
1. Safety closure for a container for tablets, pills or the like, wherein the container wall has a discharge opening and a slot spaced from each end thereof, said closure including two gates o'r controlling said discharge opening, each being slidable independently of the other toward and from operative position across said opening and each having a knob projecting through one of said slots to facilitate manual ac-tuation of said gate and to limit the extent of endwise movement thereof in the slot, each of said gates being biased to extend across and thus to automatically close said discharge opening and normally retain the same in closed condition, and gate guiding channels in the container wall having spaced parallel end portions disposed in mutually overlapping relation opposite to and coextensive with said discharge opening and each of said gates being mounted in one of said channels whereby said end portion of one or the other of said gates is normally conditioned to extend Vacross and thus to close said opening which thereby normally remains closed unless both gates are held in retracted open position at the same time.
2. Safety closure according to claim 1 and wherein the container includes a cap permanently secured in tablet confining relation thereto, wall portions of said cap being provided with said discharge opening and with said gate guiding channels, said gates being operatively mounted in said channels.
3. Safety closure according to claim 1 and wherein the gate carrying wall is provided at each end of the discharge opening with a recess which forms, in eiect, an extension of one of said guide channels and is arranged and adapted to receive an end of the gate which is mounted insaid channel, thereby to retain said end against accidental inwardly directed displacement from closing position.
4. Safety closure according to claim 3 and wherein the container is a box having top, bottom and side Walls, the discharge opening being located in one side wall and the slots in the side walls contiguous thereto, said box having relatively thickened wall portions at each end of said opening, and each of said recesses being located in one of said thickened wall portions.
5. Safety closure according to claim 1 and wherein said container wall includes recesses each closed at its inner end and arranged with its outer end in open communication with the inner end of one of said channels, and a resilient gate biasing element mounted in each recess and arranged to operatively engage an inner end of the gate therein and thereby to normally press said gate into closing position` across said discharge opening.
6. Safety closure according to claim 1 and wherein the container comprises cooperating tablet confining parts one of which has a peripheral flange providing a lateral wall for the container, said parts being assembled With the flange of said one part secured permanently in abutting relation to opposed portions of the other part.
7. Safety closure for a container for tablets, pills or .the like, wherein the container wall has a discharge opening and a slot spaced from each end thereof, said closure including two gates for controlling said discharge opening, each being slidable independently of the othertowardpand from operative position across said opening and each having a knob projecting through one of said slots torfacilitate manual actuation of said gate and to limit the extent of endwise movement thereof in the slot, each of said gates being biased to extend across and thus to automatically close said discharge opening and normally retain the same in closed condition, and gate guiding channels in the container wall having spaced parallel end portions disposed in mutually overlapping relation opposite to and coextensive with said discharge opening and each of said gates being mounted in one of said channels whereby said end portion of one or the other of said gates is normally conditioned to extend across and thus to close said opening which thereby normally remains closed unless both gates are held in retracted open position at the same time against the spring resistance and when pressure on one or both knobs is released, the gate or gates close automatically.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,606,652k 8/ 1952 Jaquette et al. 220--41 2,722,309 ll/l955 Waterman 206-42 2,810,394 10/1957 Ferguson 251-212 3,240,373 v3/1966 Dulle 215-9 WILLIAM T. DIXSON, JR., Primary Examiner.