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Laundry Detergent Pods Poisoning Children

September 6, 2012 — Doctors are warning that liquid detergent gel packs (such as Tide Pods) are being mistaken for candy and ingested by small children. If these colorful, soft, single-wash packets of laundry detergent are swallowed, they can cause severe chemical burns, poisoning, and airway swelling that could be life-threatening for a young child. Experts are warning parents to keep the products away from children. Many are calling on manufacturers to redesign the packaging with enhanced child safety caps and warnings.

Researchers from Glasgow, Scotland say they have treated five children with serious injuries from the products in the last 18 months. Case studies were published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The five children were between the ages of 10-22 months, and went to the emergency room with breathing problems and drooling. Four of the children required intubation to open their airway due to throat swelling. One child required surgery to open the airway. The fifth was treated with antibiotics and steroids.

The researchers wrote, “In addition to the catastrophic impact on the child and family, these wholly preventable injuries also lead to a significant drain on pediatric intensive care resources. To help prevent future potentially life-threatening injuries, improved safety warnings and childproof packaging are urgently required.” They are also calling on parents to keep the products stored away from children at all times.

The researchers also warned that in 2011, the National Poisons Information Service in the U.K. had 647 calls from parents of children who were exposed to contents of the liquid detergent packs. This number has increased dramatically in the last five years. The researchers said they have informed the manufacturers of the incidents.

In the United States, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has published warnings to parents in an attempt to raise public awareness of the issue. The association has received 2,166 reports of children exposed to the contents of the products. All of these incidents occurred in the first six months of 2012.

Laundry detergent can cause severe tissue damage when it is swallowed — including inflammation, chemical burns on the larynx and esophagus, and rapid onset of swelling in the throat that can compromise the child’s airway. Treatment for this condition may involve intubation, which can be very traumatic and painful for a child. A tracheostomy (surgery to open the airway from the throat) may also be necessary. Ingestion of laundry detergent can also be life-threatening, especially if the esophagus is perforated or the child is unable to breathe.

Do I have a Laundry Detergent Poisoning Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting laundry detergent pod / pack induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by laundry detergent poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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