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Emerging Health Risk: Liquid Laundry Packets

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Emerging Health Risk: Liquid Laundry Packets

With liquid laundry packets gaining in popularity, now used by 20 percent of U.S. households, parents need to be aware of this emerging risk for children.

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Between 2012 and 2013, more than 700 children 5 and under experienced serious effects as a result of liquid laundry packets, with the impact greatest among 1 and 2 year olds. In fact, the poison centers received more than 33,000 calls from 2012 through May 2015.

Safe Kids Worldwide and Tide and Gain have teamed up to teach parents about keeping kids safe around liquid laundry packets.

Every Day More than 30 Children Get into Liquid Laundry Packets. “Children love to explore and, as they grow, often discover the world by touching and putting things into their mouths,” said Safe Kids Northeast Florida coordinator, Cynthia Dennis, RN. “With liquid laundry packets gaining popularity, it is important that parents and educators recognize the safety risks.”

These packets are a concentrated, single-dose product designed to dissolve in water, so when they come in contact with wet hands or mouths, they start to dissolve and might release the concentrated liquid inside.

If children get into laundry packets, the health risk can be significant. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children can experience loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, excessive vomiting, severe eye burns, and temporary vision loss.

“Luckily, the solution to protect children in the home against laundry packet poisoning is simple,” said Dennis. “It’s ensuring that parents and caregivers are taking preventative measures to keep it from happening, and knowing what to do in case additional help is needed.”

To prevent poisoning, Safe Kids, Tide and Gain, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital offer simple tips to keep children safe:

  • Keep liquid laundry packets out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Keep packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
  • If a child gets into them, call the Poison Help number immediately, 1-800-222-1222.

For more information on this and other preventable injuries in children, go to http://wolfsonchildrenshospital.org/safekids.

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