Recently, a Florida infant died after ingesting a laundry soap pod. Apparently, he and his mother had checked into a battered women’s shelter. The shelter gave the mother a laundry basket and some soap pods. The baby was sleeping on the bed near the pods and the laundry basket. The mother left the room for a brief moment to speak to one of the staff members at the shelter. When she returned, the baby had woken up and had eaten a soap pod. The mother called 911 and raced the baby to the hospital, where he later died. He was less than 1 year old.
Tragically, stories like this are becoming more and more common in light of the recent increase in popularity in laundry and dishwashing detergent soap pods. During the first half of 2012, there were 5,732 reported incidents of babies and infants being exposed to laundry and dishwasher soap pods. Not all these children became sick, but all of them were exposed to the hazard with a parent or caregiver notifying an investigative agency, such as the local poison control hotline, of the exposure.
According to Dr. Cathleen Clancy, Associate Medical Director for the National Capital Poison Center, the recent spike in reported incidents is related to many different factors. For one, the packets look attractive – almost like candy in some instances. In addition, the detergent is highly concentrated and if a toddler squirts the packet into their mouth, it can be ingested or breathed into the lungs. This can cause a sudden decrease in oxygen saturation and lead to a life-threatening medical condition.
Dr. Clancy and other experts within the industry recommend that if you have children under 5 years of age, do not purchase these packets for your home, but if you do, keep them in a safe and secure location.
The nationwide hotline for poison control is 800-222-1222. If you or a loved one has been poisoned or exposed to a dangerous substance that has adversely affected your health, call the Defective Consumer Products attorney at Hill Law Firm.