Our Experts Safety

Dangers in the laundry room

Written by Rene Hopkins

Ever notice that kids put everything in their mouths except vegetables? Sometimes I wonder how they know it’s a vegetable. I wish they had the same sense of dread when it comes to poisons. There are so many items around the house that can be harmful to children if ingested: medications, pesticides, and cleaners, just to name a few.

Today, I want to talk about the potential dangers lurking in the laundry room. It’s not just smelly gym socks that can cause distress: Bleach and laundry detergents can be dangerous to children. The concentrated laundry detergent that comes in individual soft pods for each load can be harmful and even deadly for children if ingested. These items are often mistaken for candy by children. The moisture in the mouth dissolves the outer coating, releasing the concentrated chemicals into the child’s mouth. Go to wsbtv.com/news/news/local/mom-kid-eating-detergent-pod-scare-my-life/nZYMp/ to hear a Georgia mother talk about her close call.

The Georgia Poison Control center has seen a 25-30 percent increase in these types of calls. Manufacturers have been called upon to seek alternative types of packaging. However, the best defense against this type of tragedy is prevention. When preventing poisonings among children, practice the rule of 3’s.

  • Out of site
  • Out of reach
  • Behind a locked cabinet

This may not prevent children from attempting to gain access to dangerous items, but it will provide precious time for an adult to intervene. Remember there is no such thing as childproof, but there are measures you can take to protect children from potentially harmful items in the home.

We also suggest you put the number of the poison control center in your cell phone. If an emergency occurs, you do not want to waste time looking for the number. So take out your phone right now and add 1-800-222-1222.

 Safe Kids Greater Augusta offers a home safety class twice a month that includes more information on this topic as well as others.  For more information go to augustahealth.org or call 706-721-7606.

About the author

Rene Hopkins

A registered nurse educator, Rene Hopkins is responsible for establishing and maintaining childhood injury prevention programs through grant writing, research and data collection, community partnerships, education, legislation advocacy, and distribution of safety equipment. She coordinates more than a dozen monthly Safe Kids programs in the Greater Augusta area to educate parents and caregivers, including Safe Sitter, Car Seat Classes, Youth Firesetters Prevention Intervention, and Cribs for Kids.

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