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Keep Kids Away from Concentrated Laundry Detergent Packets

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports an increase in exposures for children under 5 years of age.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers is warning parents to keep young children away from concentrated laundry detergent packets, citing an increase in exposure cases.

According to a news release on the AAPCC website, some toddlers and small children who have swallowed the "single dose" packets have suffered from vomiting, drowsiness and gasping. In several cases, the children have had to be hospitalized and placed onto a ventilator, the release said.

“The rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary,” Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director of the Carolinas Poison Center, said in the press release. “Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. Although we aren’t certain what in the product is making the children sick, we urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent packs are not accessible to young kids.”  

From Jan. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31, 2012, the AAPCC reports that 2,950 children ages 5 or younger have been exposed to the highly concentrated laundry detergent packets. Exposure is defined as having swallowed, breathed in, or had skin or eye contact with the substance, the website said.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:  

  • Always keep detergents locked up and out of the reach of children. 
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.   
  •  If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. 

The AAPCC supports the country's 57 poison control centers. Visit the organization's website for more information.

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