SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - So far this year nearly 1,500 children have been sickened by ingesting single use laundry detergent packets; that number up dramatically in the last couple of months. In 17 cases nationwide the children who ingested the detergent had to be hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.
For toddlers it can be nearly impossible to distinguish between these laundry detergents and candy. They're brightly colored, bite sized and therefore easy to place in a child's mouth.
Nearly 50 cases have been reported to Utah Poison Control. Two of those children were seen at Primary Children's Medical Center. Dr. Charles Priuitt of Primary Children's Medical Center explained what happens when a child places one of these detergent packages in their mouth. "Hopefully all that happens is it gets down in a child's stomach, but unfortunately if you've ever put something in your mouth that's vile tasting the first thing you do is start choking and spitting and gagging and at some point you have to suck air into your lungs," said Dr. Pruitt.
Earlier this year when the first cases of detergent poisoning were reported Tide said they planned on putting out child proof containers by summer, but they still haven't hit store shelves. When ABC asked Procter & Gamble about the new containers the company said they're currently being shipped to stores. The new Tide containers will have a double latch top and and bigger warning labels.
Poison Control experts say even with thee new lids, nothing is child proof. It's still the parents responsiblilty to keep these and other poisons out of the reach of children.
Marty Malheiro of Utah's Poison Control Center suggests going even further than just keeping it out a child's reach. "You should consider doing laundry at a time when maybe there aren't toddlers around and only taking out exactly what you need and then putting it immediately away," said Malheiro.