(NEW YORK) -- Those convenient detergent packets and pods are contributing to an increasing number of calls by worried parents and caregivers to the United States Poison Control Center (PCC), according to a new report published in Pediatrics.
In 2013 and 2014, 62,254 detergent “exposures” (not necessarily meaning actual poisoning or overdoses) in children younger than 6 years old were reported. Among those recorded, 60 percent involved detergent packets.
Laundry packets have accounted for the highest number of accidental exposures since January 2013, outpacing traditional powders and liquids. Overall, most events happened to children less than 3 years old, took place in the home and could be managed at home.
However, those exposed to laundry detergent packets were more often referred to a health care facility and at increased odds of having a serious medical outcome, requiring hospitalization. Those “serious” incidents were only in 0.2 percent of exposures, but two deaths were recorded – both associated with laundry detergent packets.
It is unknown exactly why laundry detergents packets seem to have worse clinical effects, but it could be due to increasing toxicity of laundry detergent formulations and that the colors and fragrances of the packets are more enticing to children.
The authors call upon the industry to individually wrap each packet and place them in a container that is difficult for children to open. Until then, parents can ensure these packets are far out of reach and the container is always closed after use.
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