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11/10/14news article

laundry goes from dull to dangerous

new study finds detergent packets pose serious threat to kids

Doing the laundry has gone from dull to dangerous.  A new study published in “Pediatrics” found those newly-introduced detergent pods are a serious threat to young children. While kids may normally avoid the laundry room, those detergent pods look almost too inviting to ignore.  The small package and bright colors beg to be examined.  For small children, that means putting the pods in their mouths and tasting what’s inside.

The nationwide study used data from the National Poison Data System and discovered more than 17,000 kids younger than 6 years old broke open the packets, getting the detergent in their mouth, in their eyes or on their skin in 2012 and 2013.  Kids younger than 3 were almost three times more likely to go after the pods.  One child died from exposure to the chemicals.

Even more troubling, a survey by the American Cleaning Institute found only about half of the people who normally lock away their cleaning supplies did so with the laundry packets.   Most of those surveyed also admitted to having small children in the house. 

“It’s incredibly important to lock all cleaning supplies away from little eyes and hands,” says Ravi Elluru, MD, PhD, world-renowned pediatric otolaryngologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital.  “Depending on the amount ingested, those chemicals can be damaging to your child’s mouth, throat and lungs. The chemicals are much more concentrated in these packets, so the damage can be worse than with regular detergent.  Flushing with water is a good first step to removing and diluting the detergent.”

Here are some tips for parents to keep their children safe from accidental exposure.

  • Make sure to childproof your home with door and cabinet locks. Pay particular attention to the bathroom and kitchen or anywhere else where more dangerous items may be stored.
  • Ensure all poisons are stored up high and away – ideally in a locked cabinet above eye level of curious toddlers.
  • Make sure you have the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) near every phone.

For more information, contact: 
Stacy Porter 
Communications specialist 
Phone: 937-641-3666 
porters@childrensdayton.org

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Ravindhra G. Elluru, MD, PhD

division chief ear nose and throat (ENT)
view full bio