“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