Picture of How to make Evil Childproof caps easy to open
New and improved to include those line-the-arrows-up caps! A contribution from ryzellon.

This is obviously not for homes where there are young kids or any place where kids visit often.

I hate childproof caps! I've tried prying apart the Push Down and Turn type caps. It is very difficult and if you are using something sharp to try to cut them apart - dangerous.

I'm an adult. I do not have any children and small kids don't visit my home. Childproof caps in my house are just an irritation. I don't want to live in a Childproof world. So I figured out really simple ways to make most of them easy to open.

Folks with arthritis, or other problems that make gripping difficult or painful, can have a very hard time with Childproof caps. Maybe this can help them.


I'm going to cover three types of locks (and now, a fourth)

Push Down and Turn type cap:
There are 2 Techniques for this type.
Best for Dry contents:
One thumbtack
Spoon (optional)
Total cost: Less than 1 cent
Total time: around 15 seconds
Best for Liquids:
A toothpick
Something with a point to separate the two edges. It doesn't need to be sharp, just strong. I used one of those little picks that come with nutcrackers.
Total cost: How much does a toothpick cost? Free if you just pick one up in a restaurant.
Total time: around a minute

Squeeze the Sides and Turn type cap:
Fingernail clippers
Total cost: Nothing (assuming you already have fingernail clippers)
Total time: around 10 seconds

Push Down Tab and Turn type Prescription bottle:
I'll just call your attention to something that you might not have noticed.
Total cost: Nothing
Total time: None

Line the Arrows Up and Pop the Top type cap:
Hobby knife
Total cost: Nothing (assuming you have a hobby knife)
Total time: around 1-2 minutes (you can go faster, but then you might need to add a band-aid to your total cost.)
Actually, you might be able to do this with sand paper or a riffler file, but I haven't tested this. Most things simply don't work well with a concave curve.

I know it isn't high tech, or particularly creative. We don't get to use cool tools, or LED's (unless you want to - it could help you find the Viagra in the middle of the night) but it might help some people.

The Thumbtack method is very quick and easy. I use it for bottles with dry ingredients (pills, capsules,...). Because the tip of the thumbtack sometimes sticks through, into the bottle. I've got the second Toothpick method. I'd use it for liquids or if you are concerned about the tip of the tack reacting with the contents.

Made a video to go with the Instructable.

Once again: don't do this if you do have kids around.
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Do you have arthritis so you can't open the bottle or is it just too hard.I don't have arthritis and i tried to open aquarium bacteria conditioner and followed the push and turn instructions but it is impossible. But, then i figured out how to open it. You need to push it very hard and spin as fastest as you can- especially if if is the first time you opened that bottle.

willow853 months ago

i have some buckleys pills and i cant open the blister pack without bursting the capsules we all know how "great" buckleys tastes so any ideas anyone????? this is the only site iv'e found with any advice on child proof packaging

MariM3 willow851 month ago

I keep a cheap little retractable utility knife in my bathroom cabinet. When I need to open a blister pack, I just carefully slit the backing at the very edge of the blister with the tip of the knife - put the pack on the counter rather than holding it in your hand, and put your thumb-tip on the capsule so it doesn't move around and get under the knife. I cut about halfway round the blister and lift the backing up with the knife tip. I've never bought Buckleys so I don't know exactly what their packaging is like but I especially hate the blister packs where you have to peel off the backing instead of pushing through thin foil!

MDeb5012 months ago

I used pushpins instead and it works. Thank you! You saved my hands from hurting!

willsonxx1 year ago

Push-down and twist caps will open without push down when using channel lock pliers. (everyone should have channel lock pliers) Just squeeze tighter until it opens. Works with most other styles of lids as well.

clgraz1 year ago
This was the best instructable yet. How many of us experience frustration over this modern convenience!
pookie491 year ago
Thank you very much for your post on how to defeat the "Evil Childproof caps"! There are no children in the house here, and to me, there's nothing more horrible than waking up with a migraine, not wanting to turn lights on to line up the darned little arrows on the cap and bottle because my head hurts really bad already, but having no choice because of having to line up those darned little arrows! Your instructions on getting rid of that darned little tab on the inside were great! Thank you very much for that! I did want to let you know though, that after I had the one scraped completely off, I still had problems. I took a good look at the inside of the cap and found that there were actually 2 more little tabs on the inside, almost across from the arrow. I scraped those darned things off and VOILA!!!! No more problems with the cap! Thank you again. Your instructions are greatly appreciated.
Spokehedz7 years ago
Also, for the push-down-and-turn caps, it is actually two caps in one. The outer 'white' cap and an 'inner' cap that is usually translucent. Simply pry/cut the white cap off of the inner cap, and you have your easy-open cap that is still water-tight--which is useful for liquids in bottles. Some pills are really sensitive to moisture as well--they usually have anti-moisture things inside the cap (Tums, or Pepto-Bismol have these) and puncturing them with a thumbtack would not be a good idea. This is where my method shines.
cutting open isnt always easy. What I just did was a simple thing. Hammer the edge of the outer cap...!! just breaks apart leaving the soft inner cap intact!
Caution: I did it after opening the bottle - had the cap out of the bottle. Generally I find it easy to open the first time but gets harder later.
May be it will be alright to do it with cap on the plastic bottle (not glass) bottle itsef. But, u got to be very careful.
Derin Spokehedz5 years ago
My bottle of Augmentin had a small desiccant capsule along with the pills.
SFHandyman (author)  Spokehedz7 years ago
Thanks Spokehedz. I've cut outer caps off before and I think it might be too difficult for people with problems using their hands. I added a technique that is pretty simpler but not as easy as the tack. I just forced a bit of toothpick between the caps and they were suitably locked. It might be difficult for people with arthritis or other hand problems. Maybe they can get a friend to do it for them.
SFHandyman (author)  Spokehedz7 years ago
Since you leave the tack in place, there isn't actually an open hole for moisture to get in. If you remove the liner and put the tack in, then bend the tip over with a spoon and put the liner back. then there is still a good seal and the tiny bit of metal isn't exposed inside (I'm sure the liner isn't designed to be a barrier to the metal and it might still eventually corrode or rust under the liner if you use the lid over and over - might want to watch that.) If you are careful, you could just push the tack in far enough to grab the inner lid without piercing all the way through. Just push it in a few millimeters, see if it catches and keep pushing a little further until it fully catches but don't go all the way through. Another way is to go ahead and tack it close to the edge to try to catch the edge of the inner cap but not go through the surface. If you miss, you could just try again a little closer to the center. The side walls of the inner cap are wide enough that you should be able to get the tack to enter the side without actually piercing it and coming out inside. It's more complicated though. This was the quick and dirty technique. It's a good idea to leave those silica packs inside to keep the moisture down. Moisture could eventually rust the tiny tip of the tack and I wouldn't want it to contaminate the medicine. That's why I didn't recommend it for liquids.
newb3 years ago
Whoever put childproof lids on arthritis pills has a sick sick much help dude :D
cbailey73 years ago
Thankyou so much. I had some brand new vitamins which i could not for the life of me open, I think the saftey cap may have been broken. Your thumb tack tip worked a treat.
JoFrogger3 years ago
Thanks! I saw the wallet card about this at Maker Faire and picked up enough cards for my whole Parkinson's Disease support group. It's especially helpful because so many insurance companies now insist that you order drugs by mail, online -- no more asking your friendly neighborhood pharmacist to give you non-patient-proof caps in the first place.

Note that there's now another form of reversible/self-modifying cap: looks like the double lid type you disable with a thumbtack, but in this case you push down on the center of the top lid and it collapses onto the inner one. If you'd like an example for the next revision of this Instructable please let me know.
Screamo4 years ago
I found out how to open child proof bottles when i was 5.... //.O X(♫ S⊂R∃AM◯♫ )X
gerry_494 years ago
FANTASTIC! Thank you
shann.rox4 years ago
OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH! I just wasted an hour and messed my hands trying to open this stupid bloody nail polish remover but your thumb tack trick was awesome! I even managed to rip the first lid off the bottle only to find that there was a seccond :( Thanks again!
Zion_Sphere4 years ago
I'm gonna try this! I am so fed up of fighting with pill and lemonade bottles....yes I am weak. You could just move into my kitchen and live in my cupboard lol!
I tried this one, but i kept knocking the bottle over and spilt the contents-your help in this matter is really appreciated-I have arthritis and I struggle with med caps
SFHandyman (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
Take the lid off of the bottle and place it on a firm surface.

To keep it from sliding on a hard surface you can put down a damp wash rag (or a dry one but a damp one sticks better) and put the cap on that. Hammer the tack in with the cap by itself on the washcloth.

Keep that cap and use it again when you buy new medications.
Derin6 years ago
now how to plug something in an childproof outlet,IT'S IMPOSSIBLE,FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!or it may be that im a child,but i can outsmart electricians
Derin Derin5 years ago
I've finally figured out how to and applied it on my extension cord.
Plasmana Derin6 years ago
Outsmart electricians????
Derin Plasmana6 years ago
yes because they make mistakes like wiring neutral to hot supply,using wrong colors and not using the correct breaker,my electrical work is more delicate and safer.
mg0930mg Derin6 years ago
Somwtimes wrong colors cannot be helped. My dad is an electrician, and colorblind.
Derin mg0930mg5 years ago
I'll let it pass for colorblind people.
Plasmana Derin6 years ago
Oh, yeah, I know about the wire color codes and of that sort of stuff, AND the safety of high voltage.
Derin Plasmana6 years ago
the safety only comes with the proper precautions,if no precautions=<Homer voice>Ooooooowwwwwww!</homer voice>
Plasmana Derin6 years ago
Derin Plasmana6 years ago
i admit it was funny
Plasmana Derin6 years ago
Derin Plasmana5 years ago
HTML-esque tabs for homer voice. Nice.
Derin what can u expect from Electricians in turkey. The stupid guy replaced our cables with a higher gauge wire! and guess what the system shorted out
or screw the pills cap upside down , instead regular way, flipped, you will be able to open as pop and kid will look at it as IS EVIL!!!! is upside down, uuuu!!!!
specialed7 years ago
This is fine if you can get the cap off in the first place. However with caps like those on toilet bowl cleaners it doesn't quite work. I took a pair of small wire cutters and clipped off the tabs.
SFHandyman (author)  specialed5 years ago
Wire cutters are great also. I wanted to show a tool that almost everyone has available.
I have osteo -arthritis, opening lids can be painful. thanks for sharing your idea.
SFHandyman (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
You are very welcome.
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