Kids often have trouble distinguishing between candy and other “look-a-likes.” These highly concentrated detergent packets come in bright colors and shiny packages that interest and entice small children. This is especially true of “oral explorers” – children ages one to two years old that like to put things in their mouth.
Since 2012, more than 33,000 calls were made to poison control centers … that’s an average of one call an hour! According to Consumer Reports, these numbers continue to grow despite warnings and packaging changes. Because of this, the popular consumer product review group has deemed all products in this category as “too dangerous to recommend.”
The Utah Poison Control Center has recorded the following call volumes associated to the pods:
Total Calls For individuals under age 6
2012 167 150
2013 158 144
2014 206 186
The reason is when children eat these concentrated detergent packets, it often leads to hospitalization for difficulty breathing, excessive vomiting, severe eye burns and irritation, temporary loss of vision, and even death. While some kids show no symptoms, others will show mild to severe stomach upset, wheezing, gasping, or being very sleepy.
If you are concerned that your child has eaten something dangerous – laundry packet or other substance – call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or see your health care provider.
Of course, preventing a child from eating these packets (or anything else they aren’t supposed to) is the surest way to keep your child safe. It is important to keep laundry packets in their containers and up high out of reach (keeping the packets in the container, rather than loose on the washing machine, seems to help deter children for getting into them). Remember, even if they are set on top of a machine, children are very inventive for getting a boost from anything in the area (including piles of laundry!). Packets can also be shook from a machine during spin cycles. Child-deterrent cabinet locks, or latches on laundry room doors, keeps them out of harm’s way and safe from accidental poisoning.