Grandparents Urged To Protect Little Ones From Laundry Packets

In 2017, through March 31, poison centers received reports of 2,466 exposures to highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger.
Already this year 2500 young kids have been exposed to the chemicals in laundry packets.

Grandparents–and anyone else who has small children visit their homes–are once again being urged to protect their little ones from the very real, and very serious, dangers posed by single-load liquid laundry pouches.

Laundry detergent packets are like magnets for children’s attention. They are often brightly colored, squishy in texture and may trick kids into thinking that they are made of candy or are teething toys. Hundreds of children are sickened or injured every year by the happy-looking little pillows of detergent.

This may be of special interest to grandparents who, unlike their own children, may not live in a permanently childproofed home and whose brand of laundry detergent may be different (and differently colored) from what children are used to.

What Makes Single-Load Liquid Laundry Detergent Packets So Much More Dangerous

Safety advocates acknowledge that kids getting into laundry detergent is nothing new. Exact numbers are hard to come by but the country’s poison control centers are pros at handling calls prompted by kids sampling a little laundry soap here and there.

But the single-load packets are far more dangerous, say experts, and much of their danger lies in the fact that the detergent is just so much more concentrated. The powdered laundry detergent we all grew up with can cause stomach upset, certainly, but the detergent in the new packets have sickened or injured kids to the point of needing ventilators just to stay alive. Some children have had their eyesight permanently damaged.

Already this year poison control centers have logged 2466 reports of babies, toddlers and preschoolers being exposed to the toxic detergents in single-load laundry packets. In a typical year, around 12,000 or so calls involving kids those ages will be handled.

Protecting Your Grandchildren From Laundry Packets

As you can imagine, keeping your little ones safe involves some common sense advice:

  • Keep laundry packets locked up, out of reach.
  • Keep laundry packs in their original packages.
  • Don’t let children play with laundry packets.
  • Immediately contact Poison Help if a packet is swallowed or contacts the eye.


Laundry packet photo courtesy CPSC.

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