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Laundry Packet Poisonings Increasing in Alabama

CONTACT: Tori Recchio, 205-638-6660 BIRMINGHAM - Reports of children ingesting laundry packets are rapidly rising according to experts at the Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC) at Children’s of Alabama. In the last three years, the RPCC, the state of Alabama’s only poison control center, has received over 700 calls regarding children being exposed to laundry detergent packets. Of the calls, almost 500 had symptoms and 99 percent of those received hospital care. This year, as of May 15, the center has already received 83 calls related to detergent exposure. “The message here is for parents to keep the detergent packets out of sight and out of reach,” said Ann Slattery, managing director of the RPCC. Laundry detergent exposures are more severe than traditional laundry detergent, she said. If a parent decides to use the packets, or pods as some call them, Slattery encouraged caregivers to keep the packets in a secure area where children cannot see or touch them. “They are colorful, look like candy and children are attracted to them,” Slattery said. “It literally takes seconds for a child to get a hold of a packet and put it in their mouth.” Common symptoms of ingesting the detergent packets are nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Other, more severe symptoms could include wheezing, burning in the eyes, gasping for breath and increased heart rate. If a child has any contact with a laundry detergent packet, please call the Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222. Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by US News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 41 other states and eight foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at