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The single-wash packets now being produced by laundry detergent companies, such as Tide and All, can be deceiving to young children and are very poisonous. The packets are seemingly similar to candy with their bright colors and small shape.
A hospital in Great Britain has seen five different cases of children under the age of two swallowing these small detergent packets. The children suffered serious chemical burns to the esophagus. Experts in the United States say these detergent packets are posing a similar threat to American children.
According to a doctor in Great Britain, because the color and texture are very appealing to children, they cannot help but think it is candy and bite into the packets or even swallow them. Some cases even had swelling so bad in the throat that a breathing tube was needed. Extreme cases included children being admitted into the intensive care unit and having additional surgery to remove damaged scar tissue.
The American Association of Poison Control (AAPC) reported that between January 1 and July 31, close to 2,200 children under the age of 5 either bit into, swallowed or got the laundry packets between their eyes. The new laundry packets are more potent than regular laundry detergent, which would only cause a mild stomach ache or even no symptoms at all.
Parents should take extra precaution when buying the laundry packets. They must not put them anywhere a child could reach them. Parents should treat these packets as dangerous as any household cleaning item, which most are just as toxic.
If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. Also, visit the American Association of Poison Control website for more information.