Time to Babyproof the Laundry Room! Detergent Capsules Are a Huge Risk

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

Those little laundry detergent capsules may make throwing in a load of laundry a lot less messy (no powder or liquid spills!) but it’s important for parents to be aware that, to a child, they look like candy — when really, they’re poison.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that there’s been a recent rise in the amount of phone calls they’ve gotten of children ingesting highly concentrated “single dose packs” of laundry detergent. If swallowed kids can become extremely sick and may need to be hospitalized. Other kids get eye irritation from getting the detergent in their eyes. Vomiting, wheezing, gasping for air and drowsiness are all symptoms reported in kids who’ve suffered effects from contact or ingestion of the capsules.

“The rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary,” said Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director of the Carolinas Poison Center, in a statement. “Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. Although we aren’t certain what in the product is making the children sick, we urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent packs are not accessible to young kids.”

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends always keeping detergents locked up and out of the reach of children and following the specific disposal instructions on the label. If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Do you use detergent capsules? How do you make sure your child doesn’t get into them?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby Safety 101

What Baby’s Playing With That Isn’t Safe

Preventing Medical Emergencies