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Following reports involving thousands of children who are suffering laundry detergent poisoning after biting into single-use packets, the makers of Tide Pods have announced that they will take additional steps to make the packaging less appealing to children.
Proctor & Gamble announced the new changes to Tide Pods packaging last month, after previously adding a double latch to the containers last year. However, reports suggest that large numbers of children are still gaining access to the detergent packs, which have been sold in clear containers that appear similar to candy bowls.
In response to the continuing risk of child poisonings from laundry detergent pods, Proctor & Gamble indicates that it will make the tubs opaque, so that children can not see the colorful pods inside, which resemble teething toys. This is designed to make the containers less appealing to infants, toddlers and other young children.
The additional change comes after the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that nearly 4,868 children were exposed to some brand of single-use laundry detergent pod in the first half of 2013 alone. Even after Proctor & Gamble and other manufacturers added warning labels and child resistant packages, children have continued to gain access to the containers, which many parents still do not recognize as a serious risk for children.
The latest numbers are on track to top the 6,216 exposures reported in all of 2012 by children age five and younger.
According to a safety website on the use and storage of Tide Pods, Proctor & Gamble suggests that even with the new packaging, Tide Pods should be stored out of the reach of children in a locked cabinet.
Laundry Pod Poisoning Alert
In November, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a laundry detergent pod poisoning safety alert, highlighting the risk the pods may pose for children.
Laundry packs are small capsules that contain detergent, which are meant to be simply dropped into a washing machine without the need to measure or handle the liquid itself. The products are often bright and colorful, and can be mistaken by children as some form of toy or candy.
Nearly all the reported exposures involved an unintentional incident, where children came into contact with the pods accidentally. A large number of children developed severe symptoms beyond vomiting, such as gastrointestinal problems, respiratory adverse health effects, and changes in mental status.
In response to the poisoning concerns, the CPSC recommended the following safety steps last year to prevent unintentional laundry detergent packet poisoning:
- Do not let children handle laundry detergent packets.
- Keep detergent packets sealed in their original packaging, and ensure that they are locked up, out of sight and reach of children.
- Call Poison Help immediately at 1-800-222-1222 if the packets are swallowed or exposed to the eye.