Alert to Parents: Keep Liquid Laundry Packets Away from Children

New packaging welcomed by safety advocates, but simple precautions at home still needed

LONG BRANCH, NJ – As liquid laundry packets continue to grow in popularity in U.S. households, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the risk they pose to young children. Data from emergency departments suggest that more than 400 children are hospitalized annually after getting into laundry packets, and in 2016, there were 11,528 calls to poison centers related to laundry packet incidents involving young children - more than one call every hour. Now, manufacturers are releasing new, stronger packaging to help prevent incidents from taking place. As industry leaders take action, parents can take steps to protect kids.

New packaging from Proctor & Gamble (P&G) for Tide liquid laundry packets meet the standards laid out by the Poison Prevention in Packaging Act to qualify as “child-resistant,” meaning that it is sufficiently difficult for children under the age of 6 to access on their own. Safe Kids Worldwide, which has worked with P&G to educate parents about the importance of proper storage of liquid laundry packets to protect children, welcomed the measure while noting the continued importance of parental action.

“Safety starts at home, so we are pleased to see advances in child-resistant packaging for household products that provide families with extra protection,” said Torine Creppy, Interim President of Safe Kids Worldwide. “When it comes to protecting kids around liquid laundry packets, we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping them up, closed and out of children’s reach and sight.”

“As more and more families choose to use liquid laundry packets, it’s important for parents to recognize the risks so they can include it in their childproofing routines,” said Kelly DeLeon, Safe Kids coordinator at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center. “As welcome as this new technology is, the most important layer of protection is still for parents to take simple steps at home. Just like putting a lock on your cleaning supply cabinet, securing furniture and TVs to walls and keeping remote controls with button batteries out of sight and reach, parents should keep laundry packets up and away to protect their children.”

These packets are a concentrated, single-dose cleaning product designed to dissolve in water, so when they come in contact with wet hands or mouths, they start to dissolve and release the concentrated liquid inside. For children, the health risk can be significant. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children can experience difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, vomiting, severe eye burns and temporary vision loss if they come into contact with the product.

In addition to the improved technology, packet manufacturers have taken steps to reduce incidents, such as adding a bitter taste to the outside of packets and producing child-deterrent bags. Still, laundry packets need to be treated like all household cleaning products and kept out of sight and reach of children.

“Parents have to make their own decisions on what products to purchase and use in their home,” said DeLeon. “We want them to know that if they choose to use liquid laundry packets, they can protect their children from harm by making sure the products are used and stored safely.”

To help protect kids at home, Safe Kids offers some simple tips:

  • Keep liquid laundry packets up, 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: 1-800-222-1222.

For more information, contact 732-597-6075 or visit www.safekids.org.