Detergent packets making kids sick

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Single use packets of detergent take the headache out of laundry.

They're compact and convenient, but as we're now learning, dangerous for kids.

"We probably didn't think about detergent in those little packets being an issue," says Susan Helms, Director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

However, there's now a warning for parents from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Centers across the country are reporting an increase in calls about small children getting sick after ingesting single use packets of laundry detergent.

"If a child gasps and swallows a bit, that causes intense and profuse vomiting," explains Helms.

According to the AAPCC, that's what happened to a 15-month-old who bit into one of the concentrated, detergent packs swallowed a mouthful and ended up on a ventilator.

Helms says that's just one of the stories that reveals side effects can be worse.
"Also, some respiratory complications, allergic reactions like wheezing and shortness of breath and then the biggest issue is that the airway needs to be protected because respiratory failure can and has in fact happened."

To prevent this from happening to your child, Helms adds,  "We have to be very mindful to keep them out of sight and out of reach for young children."

Experts also recommend keeping the poison control hotline nearby, that number is 1-800-222-1222.