Since laundry detergent packets hit U.S. shelves in 2012, parents have been grabbing them for their convenience. Kids have been grabbing them because they are natural explorers and will put anything in their mouths. Unfortunately this can lead to some pretty serious consequences.
Detergent in laundry packets is highly-concentrated and much more poisonous than traditional powder or liquid detergent. Kids who are exposed to detergent from packets are more likely to have serious medical problems, such as burns to their skin and eyes, trouble breathing, heart problems, coma, and even death.
And it happens more than you think. Every day in the U.S. a child is hospitalized because they swallowed the contents of a laundry detergent packet.
Why is this happening? Reports suggest that many people don’t understand how poisonous laundry detergent packets are and leave them out or store them where children can see or reach them. When a child puts a laundry detergent packet in his mouth, the packet does what it’s supposed to do: starts to dissolve on contact with moisture. With a little bite, the packet pops open and the powerful poison shoots down the child’s throat.
Fortunately for parents and caregivers, there is a safer alternative. Used by households for decades to get clothes clean, traditional liquid or powder laundry detergent is not as poisonous.
The tips below can help keep children safer around laundry detergent packets.
Stick with Tradition
Purchase and use traditional liquid or powder laundry detergent rather than packets if children younger than six years live in or visit your home.
Keep in the Original Packaging
If you use laundry detergent packets, keep them stored in their original container until you put them in the washing machine.
Store all laundry detergent packets up, away, and out of sight – in a locked cabinet is best.
Straight into the Machine
When you take a laundry detergent packet out to use, put it directly into the washing machine. Immediately return the closed container to its safe storage spot.
Save the national poison help line number (1-800-222-1222) in your cell phone and post it near your home phone. Call right away if you think a child has come in contact with the chemicals from a laundry detergent packet.
For more information on this and other topics, visit www.PreventChildInjury.org.
This post is courtesy of Prevent Child Injury, a national group of organizations and individuals, including researchers, health professionals, educators, and child advocates, who work together to prevent injuries to children and adolescents in the U.S. In collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevent Child Injury promotes coordinated communication to the public about prevention of child injury, which is the leading cause of death of our nation’s youth. To become a member of Prevent Child Injury or for more information and resources on this and other injury topics, please visit www.preventchildinjury.org.
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