Laundry detergent packets sickening children who eat them

PHOENIX - Parents are being urged to keep laundry detergent packets out of reach of young children after several children have been sickened in the Valley and nationwide.

"Some young children and toddlers who swallow these small packets have become very ill and have required hospitalization," said the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The AAPCC cited the following incidents nationwide:

- Ten minutes after a 20-month-old swallowed a laundry detergent packet, the child developed profuse vomiting, wheezing and gasping and then became unresponsive to even painful stimuli.

- A 15-month-old who bit into a pack and swallowed a mouthful had profuse vomiting and, after arrival at a hospital, had to be put on a ventilator for airway protection.

-A 17-month-old bit into a packet and then rapidly developed drowsiness, vomited, breathed the product into the lungs, and had to be put on a ventilator.

"These cute little colorful, squishy packets are very attractive to kids," said a spokesperson for the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center Poison and Drug Information Center. "With normal laundry detergents we do not see these types of symptoms."

In the past couple of weeks, two children from the Valley were rushed to local hospitals after consuming the detergent packets and calling the Poison Center, said a spokesperson.

"Doctors have not identified what's causing [the breathing problems]," said Dr. Daniel Brooks, a medical toxicologist from the poison center.

Dr. Brooks told ABC15 that the local cases have not been as serious as other incidents across the United States.

"Some poison centers are seeing kids who bite into these packets, start to vomit immediately, develop respiratory problems, aspirations and some are extremely drowsy or unresponsive and needed intubation," said the Banner spokesperson.

The number for the Banner Good Samaritan Poison Center is 1-800-222-1222.

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