CNN reports that a 7-month old baby from Florida died August 9 after ingesting a laundry detergent pod.
Officials will not confirm whether or not the detergent actually caused the baby’s death; the Florida Department of Children and Families is still investigating the incident.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, traditional laundry detergent causes only mild stomach upset. However, the new pods contain a concentrated form of detergent and are more toxic. In 2012, 6,231 children under the age of five were exposed to the colorful packets, which some experts believe may look too much like candy to a young child.
Signs of Detergent Poisoning
Symptoms of detergent poisoning vary from child to child, but some of the more common signs are the following:
- excessive vomiting
- wheezing or gasping for breath (if severe enough, child may be put on a respirator)
- extreme sleepiness
Although these symptoms can be severe, there have been no reported deaths directly linked to detergent ingestion at this point. It will be “a first” if the medical examiner ultimately determines that the Florida baby died solely as a result of the detergent.
The AAPCC suggests locking up laundry detergent pods with other poisonous cleaning supplies, such as toilet cleaner, rust remover, bleach and bathroom cleaner.
Other, less obvious household items can also toxic and should be placed well out of children’s reach – some of them are:
- baby oil
- vitamins and supplements
- windshield washer fluid
For a more complete list of toxic substances and a detailed checklist for childproofing your home, check out the Baby Center.