These new laundry packets dissolve in the washing machine. Because they are colorful and squishy, they are attractive to children. They can look like candy or something fun to play with.
Poison centers receive many calls each year about children getting into laundry detergent. Swallowing it often causes mild stomach upset, if there are any symptoms at all, but poison center experts say the new highly concentrated single-load liquid laundry detergent packets seem to be different.
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 at the Texas Poison Center Network urge parents and caregivers to:
- Always keep detergents capped and locked up high, and out of the reach of children.
- Follow the instructions on the product label.
- Call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect a child has come in contact with this detergent.
In 2012, nationwide poison centers received reports of 6,231 exposures to highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger. From January 1 to July 31 this year, there have been 5,753 kids five and under that have been exposed to the single-load laundry packets.