“Single Dose Packs” of Laundry Detergent Dangers

The American Association of Poison Control Centers and the experts at all 57 of America’s poison control centers have joined in one collective voice to sound the alarm about the dangers of “single dose packs” of liquid laundry detergent.

These small and highly concentrated packets of liquid laundry detergent are often ingested by children who incorrectly assume the colorful pouches to be food or candy. Such accidental consumption can result in serious harm causing hospitalization. Other children, attracted by the “squishy” feel of the pouches, have experienced severe eye irritation after they punctured the packets and had detergent splashed in their eyes.

Here are some examples of traumatic reactions caused by ingesting the highly concentrated liquid laundry detergents.

  •  Ten minutes after a 20-month-old swallowed a laundry detergent packet, the child developed
    profuse vomiting, wheezing and gasping and then became unresponsive to even painful stimuli.

    •   A 15-month-old who bit into a pack and swallowed a mouthful had profuse vomiting and, after arrival at a hospital, had to be put on a ventilator for airway protection.
    •   A 17-month-old bit into a packet and then rapidly developed drowsiness, vomited, breathed the product into the lungs, and had to be put on a ventilator.

Note the sudden and violent bodily reaction caused by the detergents.

“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.
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.”

If you suspect that a baby,toddler or child has ingested one of these “single dose” packets of laundry detergent you should immediately call 911 and  your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Additionally, bring along to the hospital any container, package, label or remnants of what was ingested.

To avoid such accidents the The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends these safe laundry tips:

  • Always keep detergents locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the specific usage and disposal instructions on the label.

The best advice is to always keep children well supervised. The laundry room should be an off-limits area to small children.  Also, when visiting friends, family or leaving your child in the care of another parents should discuss securing the laundry room.  Both the appliances in laundry facilities and the associated cleaning products pose significant risk to children.

Additional related Safe Laundry Tips:

How to Avoid Accidental Drownings In the Laundry Room

Keep Your Cleaning Products Locked




Swedish Boy Gets Trapped in Washer

Earlier today, we posted a story about a 13 year old Canadian youngster who became entrapped in a washing machine. Now the news wires are reporting a similar story of a seven year old Swedish boy who also became stuck in the family washing machine.

According to The Local, the young boy was caught in the machine for several hours prior to being extricated by emergency workers. Rescuers had to carefully dismantle the machine and then needed to cut the washing machine drum in order to free the boy.

Luckily, the boy was not injured.

Children are both curious and fearless in their pursuit of adventure. These two accounts demonstrate that the washing machines and dryers are dangerous appliances to not only babies and toddlers but equally to older children.

Older children, unlike babies and toddlers, can be directly spoken to about the dangers of laundry room appliances. Children are taught at an early age that the stove is not a toy and that it is dangerous. Parents also need to instruct their children that the washing machine and dryer can also be perilous and are not playthings.







Teen Gets Trapped In Washing Machine

A 13 year old Canadian boy recently became entrapped in a top loading washing machine, after seeking out shelter in the appliance during an innocent game of Hide-and-Seek.

Prior to calling for emergency assistance, the boys grandmother tried to free him, to no avail, by adding liquid detergent to the washer.

According to CBC News, it took Calgary firefighters about 30 minutes to free the youngster and required the partial dis-assembly of the washing machine.

The boy was freed without injury.

This story illustrates that parents and other caregivers need to teach their children, from a young age, that the laundry room is off limits for playing. The incident also highlights, that the dangers are not just limited to babies and toddlers—even older children can become endangered by laundry room hazards.







How To Prevent Laundry Room Drownings

Most parents, grandparents and other caregivers of infants and young children are unaware that the laundry room could be the site of an accidental home drowning.  Sadly, many parents who would never dream of leaving a child unattended in the bath or poolside do not bother to childproof or restrict unsupervised access to home laundry room facilities. The result is that far too many children succumb to needless death or serious injuries.

Drownings are silent and can occur within minutes. Children that have experienced prolonged submersion, but that do not drown will sustain substantial bodily harm due to severe oxygen depletion.

The physiology of infants and small children make them prone to laundry room drowning accidents. They are top-heavy and lack the upper body strength to pull themselves free should they crawl, climb or fall into a filled washing machine tub, undrained utility sink or other container holding an inch or more of liquid. Liquid filled containers not in use should be promptly emptied.

Five gallon cleaning buckets, frequently, used for various household chores, pose a real hidden threat.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that the height, straight sides and weight of these buckets make self extrication for infants and toddlers difficult.  Such young children are prone to falling in head first and lack the muscle and motor skills to free themselves. Thus even an inch of water can cause death or injury.

Washing machines, both top loading washing machines and front loading washing machine pose significant drowning hazards. If your washing machine, does not contain a locking mechanism there are safety locks that you can purchase and install at home. Never leave appliance door or lids open. Children, cats and small dogs often find the basins great hiding and sleeping places.

Be certain that there are no climbing opportunities for young children to scale the washing machine. Toddlers and preschoolers are curious and agile creatures. They can quickly boost themselves into or on top of a machine with the help of a laundry basket, hamper, bucket or even a heap of laundry.

Should a child fall into an operating washing machine their risk of drowning or severe injury from respiratory impairment would be compounded by injuries sustained from physical entanglement as the machine cycles.

The best way to avoid these horrible accidents is to supervise infants, toddlers and young children constantly and restrict access to laundry room areas. After maintaining vigilant supervision, such actions as installing child gates, door locks, machine lid locks, removing climbing opportunities and emptying standing water containers can offer additional safety redundancies.

We see far too many YouTube videos of babies and small children in the laundry room “playing house” with the laundry.  The videos are adorable to some, but they make us cringe with fear. Laundry should be an activity only for adults and older children.

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