Poison Control Centers in the U.S. received reports of 10,570 exposures to highly-concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children under 5 years old from January to December 2017.
The term “exposure” means that a child had contact with the poison — eating, breathing, or absorbing it through their skin or eyes. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses that resulted in an injury.
Every year, there are many reports of children who get into laundry detergent. Swallowing normal types of laundry detergent is not usually very serious, with symptoms like a mild upset stomach.
The problem is that new types of laundry “pods,” or highly-concentrated packets of liquid detergent chemicals, are different.
According to a warning from the AAPCC:
Some children who have gotten the product in their mouths have had excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping. Some get very sleepy. Some have had breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator to help them breathe. There have also been reports of corneal abrasions (scratches to the eyes) when the detergent gets into a child’s eyes.”
The experts are urging parents and caregivers to take steps to reduce the risk of a child being accidentally exposed to laundry “pods.”
Most importantly, always keep laundry detergent containers closed, sealed, and stored up high, out of the reach of children.
The problem is that single-use laundry packets usually look like candy, and they are sold in containers that resemble candy jars. Children may be tempted to chew or squeeze the soft, brightly-colored, sweet-smelling, bite-sized packets, resulting in a life-threatening poisoning.
If you suspect that a child has come in contact with detergent, immediately call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
Source: Laundry Detergent Packets