By Beverly Hopps
Health Educator, Safe Kids WNC, Mission Children’s Hospital
There has been a recent spike in poisoning incidents related to children ingesting liquid laundry packets – sometimes referred to as pods. A dangerous and unfortunate social media trend called the “Tide Pod Challenge” has led to several poisonings and even fatalities. Ingesting these pods can lead to difficulty breathing, vomiting, loss of consciousness and burning of the respiratory tract into the lungs. In many cases, the impact can cause lifelong health effects or even death.
Not only is it critical to spread the message to teenagers and older children that this “challenge” is dangerous and can be deadly, it’s also important to protect younger children against the dangers of ingesting these harmful chemicals.
Tips to Keep Kids Safe
- Keep liquid laundry packets out of children’s reach and sight.
- Keep packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
- If a child gets into liquid laundry packets, call the Poison Help number immediately.
- Keep the Poison Help number in your phone for quick and easy calling – (800) 222-1222.
Facts about Laundry Pod Dangers
- More than 33,000 calls have been made to poison centers for laundry packet incidents since 2012 – that’s roughly one every hour.
- An estimated 36 percent of incidents happen when the product is outside of its original container.
- From 2012 to 2013 alone, more than 700 children age 5 and under experienced serious effects after getting into laundry packets – that’s an average of one child every day.
- Children aged 1-2 years are at the greatest risk.
If ingestion is suspected, the Poison Help line should be contacted at (800) 222-1222.
Beverly Hopps is a Safe Kids Educator at Mission Children’s Hospital.