1997 INDUCTEE Henri J. Breault, MD Health Policy, Patient Care


March 4, 1909

(Tecumseh, Ontario)


October 9, 1983


MD, University of Western Ontario (1936)

Awards & Honours:

Dr. Henri Breault Community Excellence Award, City of Tecumseh

Picture of Henri J. Breault

Advocated for better child protection from hazardous materials

Portrait of Henri Breault

A champion of child safety

In the 1960s, Dr. Henri J. Breault conceived an idea that would solve a global epidemic of accidental child poisonings and save countless lives of children worldwide. Early in his career, Dr. Breault faced daily cases of children poisoned by medicines or other "hazardous products" found in the home, especially the aspirin bottles which could be easily opened. It seemed nothing was being done about the worsening situation. After an aggressive public education failed to lower the incidence, Dr. Breault focused instead on prevention and protection by facilitating the development of the first child-proof container. Thanks to his dedicated efforts, child-resistant containers for medicines would eventually become mandated by the government, saving many children from accidental poisoning.

Key Facts

Raised awareness about the 1,000 cases and at least 1 death each year in Windsor from accidental poisonings

Forged an alliance between local physicians and pharmacists to save children from accidental poisoning

Following the implementation of a child safety cap, the incidence of child poisoning quickly dropped by 91%

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Breault's child-proof container idea has saved countless children. Indeed, as one enthusiastic health official put it: "The Child-Resistant Container is to childhood poisonings what the Salk vaccine is to polio". His original design is still in use today for many over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Dr. Breault has earned his reputation as a Canadian hero and, thanks to him, child fatalities and serious injuries due to accidental poisonings remain relatively low in Canada with the help of the Palm N’ Turn.

Picture of Henri J. Breault


  • Henri Breault posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Breault campaigned for over a decade to various levels of government to have the cap mandated by law

    Health Policy

    In 1974, his efforts were successful and the Ontario government became the first to mandate that the child-resistant cap be used on all medical vials and household solvent containers. The remaining provinces promptly followed suit, as did the United States, significantly reducing the rate of accidental child poisonings across North America.

  • In honour of his career, the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Windsor established the "Henri J. Breault Pediatrics Centre"

  • Dr. Breault successfully patented the “Palm N’ Turn” container

    Patient Care

    Many designs were submitted, but the winning design was by Peter Hedgewick, president of International Tool Limited Industries, for his “Palm N’ Turn”. In partnership with Mr. Hedgewick, Dr. Breault developed the design and technology which requires the user to push down and turn the cap to open the container, making it more difficult for children to access potentially fatal products.

  • Realized the problem extended beyond Windsor and was, in fact, a national and global epidemic

    With OACAP, he formed alliances with local pharmacies and physicians and launched several public safety awareness campaigns, as well as a competition to invent a child-resistant container for medication.

  • Henri Breault began advocating for the prevention of accidental child poisonings

    Health Policy

    He established the Ontario Association for the Control of Accidental Poisonings (OACAP), a not-for-profit organization that supported and promoted the development of child-resistant containers.

  • Became the Chief of Pediatrics and Director of Poison Control Centre at the Hotel Dieu Hospital

    Whether it was in his private practice or at Hotel Dieu Hospital, he treated a staggering number of children who had accidentally ingested potentially harmful materials including medications, vitamins and household solvents.

  • Decided to remain in the Windsor area

    He established his medical practice in 1939.

  • Received his MD from The University of Western Ontario

    He then completed an internship at the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Windsor, which gave him a strong foundation in pediatrics.


His campaign to prevent childhood poisonings saved the lives of many children.