When we pay attention and observe the writing and marking instruments, we will find that there are holes or vent area on the cap and the bottom of the pens. Do you ever wonder about the function of these holes, either you want to know more about why the designer put the vent area on the caps and pens? The truth is these small details will save human’s life at the very moment, especially for the children under the age of fourteen.
The data from CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) shows that there are 160 children who are under fourteen dying of respiratory tract obstruction caused by foreign matter around the USA in 2000. And CDC points out that there are 17537 children who are under fourteen accepted rescue due to suffocation in USA of 2001. AAP (The American Academy of Pediatrics) listed many small parts may cause asphyxia for children in normal life. Cap is included as coins, balloons, marbles, button batteries, etc.
If the child inhales a pen cap it might become lodged below the larynx and block the trachea. The risk of asphyxiation can be reduced if the pen cap is ventilated or too large to enter the airway. Too large cap is not very convenient for carry and use during the actual process. The vent area of cap with proper size becomes very important if the caps are essential for the pens.
When the suffocation lasts over four minutes, it will cause irreversible brain damage or even death. The emergency procedures face severe challenges because the caps have smooth surface and inelastic structure. These features make the cap may be difficult to be pulled out of trachea and make the treatment go un-smoothly. These factors will affect the emergency treatment. But the vent area in the cap can guarantee enough air and it is very different for the treatment. When the cap with vent area is stuck in the respiratory tract, it won’t cause severe asphyxiation and will win enough time for the treatment.
But why we still can find that there are similar tragedies happening around us? Do you ever notice the differences among the vent areas?
ISO standard and British standard have specified requirements for the caps. One is for cap size, and the other is ventilated caps air flow. It requires the caps shall permit a minimum air flow of 8l/min, measured at room temperature, with a maximum pressure drop of 1.33kPa.
How can we ensure about the air flow? These specific parameters can only be provided by testing with apparatus such as the cap air flow tester which is applicable for testing ventilated caps air flow. The tested cap is fully inserted into an elastomeric tube of the appropriate diameter and the air flow through the tube and the pressure drop are measured in both directions. The tester is the best tool for determining and evaluating the air flow performance of caps which are used by children under fourteen.
There are many potential hazards in the classroom for the kids, such as sharp edges, toxic or pungent products. Choosing safe products for children and manufacturing safer products for the markets are very important for the entire society. We need the standards to standardize the market and the stationary testing instruments to verify the quality.