It's not often that you look at a cleaning product and think, "Mmm, that looks delicious," but that's exactly what kids have been doing since those handy new detergent packets came on the market in March. Poison control centers have noticed a particularly huge uptick in the number of kids who've eaten them in recent weeks. In May there had been about 200 poisonings related to the packets, but by this week that number was up to about 1,200.
They're so problematic because they're small, brightly colored, and basically look exactly like candy. So, naturally, toddlers and young kids go right for them, and then they get very sick. And what's worse is that the detergent in these packs seems to be far more toxic to kids than traditional detergent was, for reasons which aren't yet understood.
The whole point of them is convenience, since you can just throw them into the washer—because apparently it is too difficult for us to pour some liquid into a cup now? But Bruce Ruck, who is the assistant director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, says the way to avoid kids getting poisoned is to hide the packets: "Put them up very high in a locked cabinet. You don't want to store these on top of the washing machine or dryer, because kids will stand on chairs to get stuff." Indeed they will. But you'll probably also have to get on a chair and unlock a cabinet every time you want to do the wash. Suddenly pouring a cup of boring old detergent into the washer doesn't seem like so much of a hassle.
New Detergent Pods Pose Poisoning Risk [New York Times]