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B.C. parents warned as more children are ingesting laundry pods

The BC Centre for Disease Control is again warning parents to keep laundry detergent pods out of reach from their children as the organization receives an increased number of calls.

Laundry detergent pods received increased exposure in 2012, and that resulted in 59 calls to the BC DPIC related to children ingesting the items. The number of calls to the BC DPIC increased in 2013 to 128, 137 calls in 2014, and 152 calls in 2015.

In total, the BC DPIC received 467 calls and 150 children under age six visited the emergency room after ingesting the pods.

“Parents may see these pods as easy and convenient to use, but young children can confuse them with toys or candy,” Dr. Roy Purssell, medical lead of BC DPIC, said. “The big risk is if a child bites into a laundry pod and it sprays out detergent, it can cause severe swelling in the back of the throat and interfere with a child’s breathing.”

Roughly one in 30 cases where children are exposed to these products is serious enough for the child to be sent to the hospital.

Tips to prevent accidental exposure:

  • Store chemicals and medicines in their original labelled containers;
  • Always read the label before using a chemical or a medicine;
  • Return medicines and chemicals to their safe place after using;
  • Keep medicines in child-resistant containers. Blister packs and weekly dosettes are not child-resistant;
  • Regularly gather expired and unused medications and take them to a pharmacy for proper disposal.

If you suspect your child has been poisoned by a medicine, chemical or other substance, call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911.

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