Baby's laundry packet death raises concerns

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by Sarah Blais

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 16 at 3:09 PM

PHOENIX -- After a 7-month-old's death from eating a liquid laundry packet, poison centers are making more of an effort to educate parents about keeping the capsules out of children's hands.
 
Already, almost 6,000 children nationally have been hospitalized for eating these packets. In Arizona, this year's numbers have doubled, from 42 cases in 2012 to 87 cases so far in 2013. There have been 12 incidents in August alone.
 
With their bright colors and similar appearance to candy, kids under 5 years old find them attractive.
 
"But when they swallow them, the acids and bases in them can cause burning in their mouth," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio of Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Center. "Most importantly, they can cause children to stop breathing or cause coma."
 
Some brands, like Tide, have changed the container to a darker color so that children can't see the packets inside.
 
Even grocery stores have been doing their part to warn parents. Some have signs by the laundry products alerting to the dangers of children eating the capsules.
 
The best thing to do if you think your child has eaten a packet is to take them to the emergency room immediately.
 
"Children can go down or become comatose very quickly, within 10 or 15 minutes," Lovecchio said.

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