Recently, the American Association of Poison Control Centers and the experts at America’s 57 poison centers issued a warning about an emerging poison danger they are seeing in the United States. This trend is regarding concentrated laundry detergents and in their press release, they urged the public, especially parents, to keep highly concentrated “single dose packs” of laundry detergent up and away from children.
This statement was issued as poison centers around the country are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures of children to laundry detergents packaged in small, single-dose packets. Some young children and toddlers who swallow these small packets have become very ill and have required hospitalization. Other children have gotten the product in their eyes, resulting in significant eye irritation. Some children have been exposed when the product burst after putting it into their mouths.
The following are examples of exposures to children who have become ill from concentrated laundry detergent packets:
* Ten minutes after a 20-month-old swallowed a laundry detergent packet, the child developed profuse vomiting, wheezing and gasping and then became unresponsive to even painful stimuli.
* A 15-month-old who bit into a pack and swallowed a mouthful had profuse vomiting and, after arrival at a hospital, had to be put on a ventilator for airway protection.
* A 17-month-old bit into a packet and then rapidly developed drowsiness, vomited, breathed the product into the lungs, and had to be put on a ventilator.
Most concerning to the poison control center staff is the rapid onset of significant symptoms. Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. Although poison control centers aren’t certain what in the product is making the children sick, they urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent packs are not accessible to young kids.
Here are some poison tips for laundry detergent and the many other poisonous products found in homes:
- Always keep detergents and other poisonous agents locked up and out of the reach of children.
- Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
- Keep all products in their original container.
- If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet or other potentially poisonous product, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
Safe Kids Grand Forks has magnets/stickers with the phone number to the poison control center that are available free of charge. If you are interested in obtaining some, send an e-mail to email@example.com. You can check our web site at www.safekidsgf.com for more childhood injury prevention tips or “Like” us on Facebook. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.