When laundry detergent capsules hit store shelves, many praised them for using less water and being more efficient than traditional detergents.
However, that convenience has come with a price -- one a Wichita family knows all too well. Ava Lynn is fine now but she became seriously ill after eating one of the capsules.
“I'd never heard of anybody eating them,” Erin Haynes said. “Or even come remotely close to ingesting them. Until it happened.”
A Wichita mother gets the scary call that her toddler has eaten several detergent pods and is violently ill. Now, she's trying to warn other parents about the dangers of the highly concentrated soap pods that look like candy to young children. It's a disturbing trend KWCH first told you about last week, with thousands calling for help across the country.
Three-year-old Ava loves eating pickles. But it was just yesterday a snack she found for herself ended with a call to Poison Control.
“He's on the phone with Poison Control. I'm on the phone with Poison Control,” said her mother, Erin Haynes.
Ava had swallowed several highly concentrated All detergent pods. Poison Control told the family to “give her some milk, water, something to try and dilute it,” Haynes said. “Oh, she got so sick. I mean, it was bad…. Tears were coming down her face.”
But they were lucky. Their brand of detergent didn't contain bleach or other fabric softeners that could've caused chemical burns.
Their five-month-old puppy, Jack, got into it, too.
“He sees her with anything food, he thinks, ‘Oh! She's going to give me a bite of it.’ So, first thing he did is he followed right along with her and he decided, ‘Well, she's putting it in her mouth, I can put it in mine’,” Haynes said.
The family calls the whole situation more than a little scary.
“My husband was about unglued,” Haynes said.
She says she'd never heard of kids trying to eat the stuff. But Poison Control told her they hear about it all the time.
“I can see where she’d think it was something you could chew on. She probably did think it was candy,” Haynes said, looking at the packets.
The next day, Ava seems back to normal. But her mother feels guilty.
“I thought I had everything locked up,” Haynes said. “I had been doing laundry earlier in the day and I had just set them on top of the dryer.”
And now she’s warning other parents to beware!
“Lock it up! Don't, please don't, forget to lock them up,” she said.
“It can’t open,” Ava complained, trying to open a cupboard closed with a baby lock.
The Haynes now have the number to Poison Control posted in their kitchen and say their next big purchase is going to be a permanent gate that they want to install at the door to their laundry room, to make sure Ava can never get at the detergent again.
Products like Tide Pods, All Mighty Pacs and Purex UltraPacks are being blamed for hundreds of calls to poison-control centers nationwide. Children are confusing the brightly colored capsules for candy.
Nearly 1,500 accidental ingestions were reported to poison control centers nationwide. Nausea, vomiting and respiratory difficulty are among the health effects of ingesting concentrated laundry detergent.
It's recommended that parents store the capsules out of the rech of children or in a locked cabinet.
"We're very concerned whenever these situations occur. For the manufacturers, safe and proper use of these products is a priority," said Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute, a Washington, D.C., trade association.
Sansoni said the industry is responding to the accidental ingestions by creating educational materials that teach safe and proper laundry detergent use.