Written by Laura Wakelam
13 Feb 2020

Does your Sharps Container Pass the Candy Test?

When clinicians discuss sharps containers and how safe they are, you may hear someone ask, "Does it pass the candy test?" For those of you new to this question, no it’s not how sweet the container is or how much candy it could hold and how is that candy equitable to sharps volume. The candy test is simply to devise: if a child dropped a piece of candy into a sharps container, could they reach in with their small hands to retrieve it? 


Keep in mind, that a dropped piece of candy is now in a hazardous heap of medical waste and sharps – so it’s really important small hands can’t reach into the container whatsoever. In our 32 years of living in healthcare, stories are replete of small children being stuck with a needle when their hands dive into an open-lidded sharps container to explore what lies within, or in an attempt to retrieve an item they have curiously dropped inside.

In the special Valentine’s edition of this blog, we’ve written a poem to help you remember the purpose of the candy test:


Biohaz waste bins are typically red

Pharma bins are often blue

If a child drops candy into your sharps container

Does it safely prevent them from retrieving it anew?


Speaking of colors – children love them. Bright, bold, attention-grabbing. Unfortunately, bold color is also how clinicians can easily discern what healthcare waste goes in what bin. To a child, these containers could be full of intrigue – a potential mystery to be unlocked if only they could get inside to see the contents.


A 3-year old dropped his parents car keys into the round hole of a sharps container. Unaware of the scenario that was unravelling, his mother was only made aware of what had taken place when her young son cried out in pain. With his hands tightly fisted into the top opening of the container trying to retrieve the keys, the boy had been punctured with seven different needles.”


This is a true story, and it is one of many that is distinctly avoidable. In this scenario, it is what happens next that is most harrowing… trying to determine the medical history of the contaminated needles, exposing a child to strong preventative medications, waiting… and seeing… for months whether a life-threatening illness has been contracted through the exposure. It is emotionally traumatic. It is avoidable.


Hands must never be able to enter a sharps container;
safety with such high risk at stake, should not be an option.


Born out of five years of research and development with the input of experienced clinicians, Daniels Sharpsmart container was designed to be impenetrable. A wide aperture for safe disposal, a safety tray that is not able to be manipulated by even the smallest of hands, a secure cavity that 100% restricts hand-access to disposed sharps.  


Image A shows the clinically engineered Daniels Sharpsmart sharps container. A secure tray conceals the full aperture of the container restricitng hand access above and below the tray. When full, the safety tray self-locks into a fixed position, eliminating risks of overfilling. The Daniels reusable sharps container is made of ABS plastic and is impenetrable by contained sharps.

Image B shows a standard sharps container that can be found in many small health practices across the United States. The sharps container is light in construction and has an open access top allowing sharps and needles to be vertically dropped into the container. Containers are often at risk of being overfilled, and there is no safety mechanism preventing hand access.


See the Tilt Tray in Action

Risks can be avoided 

At Daniels we believe that through safety engineered design, many injury risks within healthcare can be avoided. Understanding the patient environment is essential to delivering product and services that intercept human error, and in a sharps container, secure concealment of contaminated sharps should be a non-negotiable. Read more about Daniels Sharpsmart container innovation here



Does your sharps container pass the candy test? 

If not, let's talk!


Header Style: 
Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Daniels Health global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling