Laundry detergent packets continue to pose a risk to children
Doctors are once again warning parents about those popular detergent packets after a new study shows an increase in the number of children getting hurt after biting into the colorful packets.
Detergent packets can be a convenient way to do laundry, but to a toddler they can look like candy.
A new study in the Journal Pediatrics says there were more than 62,000 detergent related calls to poison control centers in 2013 and 2014. There was a 17 percent rise in calls specifically about laundry packets. Among those there were 17 cases of coma, six cases of respiratory arrest and two cases of cardiac arrest.
“Clearly, laundry pods are a problem,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, Chief of Toxicology at Children’s Mercy.
Lowry is clear in her advice to parents. Instead of locking the pods up or putting them on a high shelf, her advice is much more definitive.
“If you have young children in the home, you should not have them in the home,” she said.
Last year, Consumer Reports stopped recommending laundry packets because of the potential danger, but the industry says it is adopting new voluntary safety changes.
Procter and Gamble, the maker of Tide Pods and Gain Flings introduced new pods this year that have a tougher coating. They also contain a bitter tasting substance on the outer film to stop kids from biting into them.
Procter and Gamble even introduced a new bag with a child-guard zipper.
The new packages hit store shelves soon. Safety advocates plan to monitor the changes to make sure they prevent poisonings.
Procter and Gamble says during testing that 90 percent of kids under five years old were not able to open the new child guard packages.
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Learn more about the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Children's Mercy.