Kids Eating Packets of Laundry Detergent


One of the latest dangers parents need to understand is the allure of Tide detergent packets to kids. There have been reports of poisoning, but not death, of children who swallow these candy-like packages. Fortunately, Tide has pledged to remedy the situation, but until that happens, there will be many of these dangerous products in households across the country.

The story was recently detailed in an article at Philly.com. Here are excerpts:

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Miniature laundry detergent packets arrived on store shelves in recent months as an alternative to bulky bottles. But doctors across the country say children are confusing the tiny, brightly colored packets with candy and swallowing them.

Nearly 250 cases have been reported this year to poison-control centers. Though they remain a tiny fraction of the thousands of poisoning calls received every year, doctors are concerned. The symptoms they see in connection with ingesting the packets – such as nausea and breathing problems – are more severe than typical detergent poisoning. No deaths have been reported.

“We’re not quite sure why it’s happening,” said Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “But we’ve clearly had some kids who have become much more ill. We look at these pods as being clearly more dangerous than the standard detergent.”

Tide, Purex, and other detergent manufacturers introduced versions of the packets earlier this year. The lightweight, colorfully swirled plastic packets contain a single-use amount of detergent.

Several poison-control centers started to get calls about the packets in March and April. Texas reported 71 instances of exposure this year, all but one in March or later.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Swanner
    June 7th, 2012 | 6:17 am

    Bob,

    I use the Tide ‘Pods’. I showed them to my daughters, told them what they did and keep them on top of the washer and don’t have any problems with them. My daughters are 8 and 5. I could see where they would pose more of a problem with a toddler. But I would think that would also fall under the rubric of keeping things out of the hands of young kids.

  2. Bob Kraft
    June 7th, 2012 | 9:06 pm

    True enough Dave. But when my kids were toddlers we weren’t perfect about keeping everything out of reach. I suspect most parents occasionally slip up and leave out something they should have put away. Far safer not to make a potentially poisonous product resemble a tasty treat.

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