Simple precautions can keep children safe
As liquid laundry packets continue to grow in popularity in U.S. households, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the risk they pose to children, particularly 1- and 2-year-olds. Data from emergency departments suggest that more than 400 children are hospitalized annually after getting into laundry packets, and in 2016, there were 11,528 calls to poison centers related to laundry packet incidents involving young children – more than one call every hour. But just as manufacturers have taken action, parents can take steps to protect kids.
“As more and more families choose to use liquid laundry packets, it’s important for parents to recognize the risks so they can include it in their childproofing routines,” said Injury Prevention coordinator, Renee McCabe. “Just like putting a lock on your cleaning supply cabinet, securing furniture and TVs to walls and keeping remote controls with button batteries out of sight and reach, parents should keep laundry packets up and away to protect their children.”
These packets are a concentrated, single-dose cleaning product designed to dissolve in water, so when they come in contact with wet hands or mouths, they start to dissolve and release the concentrated liquid inside. For children, the health risk can be significant. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children can experience difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, vomiting, severe eye burns and temporary vision loss if they come into contact with the product.
Packet manufacturers have taken steps to reduce incidents, such as adding a bitter taste to the outside of packets and producing child-deterrent bags. Still, laundry packets need to be treated like all household cleaning products and kept out of sight and reach of children.
“Parents have to make their own decisions on what products to purchase and use in their home,” said McCabe. “We want them to know that if they choose to use liquid laundry packets, they can protect their children from harm by making sure the products are used and stored safely.”
To help protect kids at home, Safe Kids offers some simple tips:
- Keep liquid laundry packets up, out of children’s reach and sight.
- Keep packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
- If a child gets into liquid laundry packets, call the Poison Help Number immediately: 1-800-222-1222.
If you think your child may have an emergency, don’t wait.
At Children’s Hospital of Georgia, we have an emergency department specifically tailored to fit the needs of children, and we are here 24/7. Our pediatric emergency department serves over 28,000 pediatric patients each year. For more information call 706-721-7337 (PEDS) or visit augustahealth.org/chog.