Food Safe Guru Daily – 250 children swallow detergent pods leads to redesign

Posted on May 28, 2012 by


I have raised two wonderful children. If there is something I have learned from the toddler experience is that if something is small and colorful, it will be in their mouth.  

That is why I am applauding Proctor & Gamble for redesigning their detergent pods.

“Doctors say children sometimes swallow Tide Pods and similar laundry products, around 1 inch cubes that are meant to be dropped into a washing machine in place of liquid or powder detergent. Nearly 250 cases nationally have been reported to poison control centers this year, a figure that’s expected to rise. No deaths have been reported.”

Almost all of the cases so far have been reported since March, when several companies began to market the packets. A handful of children have been hospitalized for several days.

Texas reported 71 instances of exposure this year, all but one in March or later. Missouri reported 25 cases related to the packets, and Illinois reported 26.

Some children might be confusing the tubs of colorfully swirled detergent packets for bowls of candy, said Bruce D. Anderson, director of operations at the Maryland Poison Center. Maryland has reported 15 cases this year.

“Kids are very bright and will find a way to get to something that they want to get to,” he said.

Tide is creating a double latch lid to deter children from swallowing detergent pods but other companies that make similar products did not return calls or like Sun Products are evaluating the packaging.

The packets appear to cause more severe symptoms than typical detergent, possibly because a single packet has a full cup’s worth of detergent or because the packets might activate more quickly or differently.

“In suburban Philadelphia, a 17-month-old boy climbed onto a dresser and popped a detergent package in his mouth. The boy vomited, became drowsy and started coughing, said Dr. Fred Henretig of the Poison Control Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The boy was put on a ventilator for a day and hospitalized for a week.”

 US Food Safety isn’t saying not to purchase these products but parents, grandparents, or caretakers of small children need to be aware of the potential risks of these products within the reach of small children.

Posted in: Family safety