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Parents Urged to Keep Laundry Pods Away from Children

Once again, manufacturers of a product intended for use by adults have packaged a product in a way that appeals to children, leading to injury. We previously reported on Buckyballs, an adult stress-relieving toy that is made of small magnets, that appeals to young children who swallow the magnets, requiring surgery.  Now, ABC News reports that children are mistaking the new single-dose laundry detergent packets, such as Tide Pods, for candy.

An 18-month-old child had to be rushed to the emergency room with severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after he swallowed a pod believing it to be candy.  Five months later, according to ABC News, nearly 1,200 children have been treated for swallowing laundry detergent, and eleven of them are critically ill on ventilators.  The new laundry packets were first introduced in February.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) issued a warning on May 17 “urging the public, especially parents, to keep highly concentrated “single dose packs” of laundry detergent up and away from children.”  According to the press release, young children who swallow the laundry packets “have become very ill and have required hospitalization.” Some children have reportedly gotten the product in their eyes, resulting in significant eye irritation.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the following statement on June 29:

“CPSC has been a longtime partner with the poison control centers and Poison Prevention Week Council in addressing household poisoning risks to children. CPSC staff is actively investigating various brands of laundry packs and working with the manufacturers, due to information coming to our attention of children ingesting the material inside of the packs. CPSC staff has made no conclusions with respect to the investigation. Parents and caregivers are reminded to keep all laundry and other hazardous products, regardless of their packaging, locked up and out of the reach of children.”

The AAPCC reports that its 57 poison control centers across the United States experienced an “uptick” in the number of calls regarding children’s exposure to laundry detergent, with some receiving 10 calls a day.  According to the latest reports, some of the centers have received nearly 30 calls a day.

The pods are small, bite-sized packages filled with multi-colored liquid resembling a piece of hard candy.  ABC reports, that Tide packages its laundry pods in a container resembling a candy jar.  Once a child bites into the pod and the liquid is ingested, illness is almost immediate.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing and respiratory distress have all associated with the detergent.

“The rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary,” said Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director of the Carolinas Poison Center. “Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all.”

Tide has changed its packaging to child proof containers.  The newly packaged products have reportedly already shipped and should be on store shelves soon.

Unintentional poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury to children, according to the CPSC. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports every day, nearly 87 people die as a result of unintentional poisoning and another 2,277 are treated in emergency departments.

Our Pennsylvania product liability attorneys realize how devastating it can be to a family when a child is seriously injured after swallowing a dangerous chemical.  We ask that all parents heed the advice of the poison control centers if you have laundry detergent packets in your home:  “Always keep them locked up high and out of the reach of kids!”

If you believe your child was injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be eligible for compensation.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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