by Cassandra R. Elias
As convenient as the new laundry packets are for parents, they are apparently dangerously appealing to little ones.
Doctors and poison control centers are reporting an alarming rise in kids eating the poisonous mini laundry detergent packets.
Approximately 250 cases have been reported to poison control centers so far with symptoms ranging from nausea and breathing problems to more dangerous conditions.
"These are more serious symptoms than with typical detergent," says Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a Dallas toxicologist.
Thankfully, no deaths have been reported.
Doctors aren't entirely sure why kids are swallowing the packets but they believe they are mistaking these brightly colored "pods" for candy.
The Oregon Poison Control Center says they've been averaging around a call a day for months. The Washington Poison Control Center says they've gotten 16 calls so far this year.
Both Tide and Purex introduced laundry detergent packets in March. The light plastic packets contain a single-use amount of detergent that dissolves in water. They're intended to be dropped into a laundry machine in place of liquid or powder detergent.
A spokesman for Procter & Gamble, Paul Fox, Tide's parent comany, says caution should be undertaken with all cleaning products. He said they are working with poison control centers and advocacy groups to make sure parents know more about the risks.
"The packs themselves are safe, regardless of who manufactures them, provided that they are used for their intended purpose. The risk becomes when they're left like any other household product within reach of small, inquisitive hands," Fox stated.
Do you use these types of laundry packets? Will you continue using them or simply move them to a safer place? Do you know what to do if you catch your child in the act?