National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21.



Linda Geist
  • Colorful laundry detergent pods can tempt small children.Photo by Linda Geist
    Colorful laundry detergent pods can tempt small children.Photo by Linda Geist

HOUSTON, Mo. – Laundry packets offer loads of temptation for curious children.

Kids like the colorful, squishy soap packets, says Angie Fletcher, specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. While they may look and feel fun, they are anything but when broken or eaten. Highly concentrated soap pods cause rapid vomiting, wheezing, gasping, sleepiness, eye damage and, in rare cases, death.

Pods poisoned more than 11,700 children in 2014, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. That’s almost double the number of cases since 2012.

Laundry rooms hold many dangers for children, Fletcher says. Detergent, stain removers and fabric softeners can hurt young ones. Small children can crawl inside clothes dryers, with tragic results.

U.S. hospitals treat more than 300 children for poisoning each day. Fletcher urges anyone with preschoolers in their home to childproof it to PREVENT POISONING @HOME.

“Anyone who has children in their home, even for just one visit, should take precautions to get any products that could be hazardous locked up, out of sight and out of reach,” Fletcher says.

“With this in mind, it is just as important for grandparents to childproof their homes as it is for parents,” she says.

Depending on the design of the home, childproofing may be as simple as closing the laundry room door and installing childproof locks on storage cabinets and doors as needed.

Fletcher offers these tips for parents and caregivers during National Poison Prevention Week:

• Keep laundry containers tightly closed, sealed and stored out of the reach of children.

• Use childproof locks on laundry room doors.

• Call the toll-free help line at 800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect a child has been exposed to this soap. Staff at the center will connect you with the poison control center in your area.

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