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Columbus, Ohio
USA

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Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Pretty Poisons

Guest Blogger

Photo credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission via  Flickr  ( Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 )

Photo credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission via Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

I had not heard the term “pretty poison” until a few months before I became a father. As I have written before on this blog, I spent those months terrifying myself about the many ways my child could be hurt. Pretty poisons are pretty terrifying.

You know the blue window cleaner that looks like the blue sports drink? That’s a pretty poison. The toilet bowl freshener that smells good enough to eat? Also a pretty poison. A young child doesn’t know the difference between the tasty thing and the dangerous thing. And little kids stuff whatever they can into their mouths anyway–the more colorful, the better.

Enter the laundry detergent pod, which has gotten a lot of attention here and here and here in the last few days. You couldn’t really buy them in stores until 2012, but starting right then, poisonings skyrocketed. A bunch of children were hospitalized, some in comas. One child died.

I mean, look at a laundry detergent pod!  It appears to be one of those jelly candies, even to an adult. It certainly smells sweet. It’s a perfect size for a little hand to grab. A pod, enough for an entire load of laundry, fits inside a child’s mouth. The plastic coatings dissolve easily in water or on a wet hand.

Then there’s the packaging. I’ve seen laundry detergent pods in orange zip-top bags that look almost exactly like the orange zip-top bags with peanut butter cups in them. Why wouldn’t you think that they’re the same thing if you were a child?

Luckily, there’s a pretty simple solution for those of us who are parents of young children: use regular detergent instead. Stay away from the laundry detergent pods. I don’t want my child swallowing traditional laundry detergent either, so I still need to keep that up, away, and out of sight, but the reports say traditional detergent is less dangerous than swallowing a pod.

I’ll admit now that I have used dish-washing pods for the last several years. The media reports aren’t talking about those. I don’t know if they’re as dangerous as the laundry detergent pods, but they fit in the “pretty poison” category. They’re very colorful. The ones I have look kind of like those red, white, and blue Popsicles. I love those Popsicles.

I just saved a reminder in my phone to throw them away, too.

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