Be Aware of New Laundry Detergent Gel Packs

If you the parent or guardian of a small child you are going to want to be aware of this!

A new product for laundry detergent has has hit store shelves and they are causing quite a stir with parents across the U.S. and the U.K.  These laundry detergent gel packs are used in place of regular laundry detergent.  You throw them in the washing machine with your clothes and turn on the machine.  Easy enough you say.  While it may be a convenience for some it is a danger for others.

These gel packs (pictured above) look very much like candy to young children.  They are about the size of a marshmallow and have bright colors, which causes some of the confusion with candy.  So far this year U.S. poison hotlines have received almost 3,000 phone calls in regards to children 5 and under being exposed to the detergent packs.  734 of those calls came in the month of August alone!  Luckily there have been no deaths reported from these cases.

Some children who have swallowed the packs have become very ill and even hospitalized due to the concentrated cleaning agents found in the packs.  Experts say the packs if swallowed can destroy tissue and cause intense inflammation and swelling.  If you suspect your child has swallowed a pack, signs to watch for are excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep these products out of the reach of small children.  Also, sit down and have a conversation with your child about the gel packs and stress the importance of never handling them.

If you suspect your child have poisoned themselves, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett