A 7-month-old Kissimmee infant has died in what may be the first fatality attributed to the ingestion of a concentrated laundry detergent packet.
The detergent packs have been controversial since they were introduced. Critics of the product claim that the small, often colorful packages look like candy to unsuspecting children. According to Consumer Reports, there have been 5,753 incidents of children 5 and younger being exposed to the ingredients inside the single-load laundry packets between January 1 and July 31 of this year. Last year, poison control centers around the country received reports of 6,231 exposures by children 5 and younger.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the child and his mother had been staying in a shelter for battered women where the incident occurred. According to Kissimmee authorities, the shelter had handed out the detergent pods and the mother had left them in a laundry basket on a bed next to her sleeping son. She stepped away briefly and when she returned she found that the infant had ingested one of the pods and was working on a second one.
The baby was coughing when first responders arrived, but appeared alert. His condition worsened after he was transported to Osceola Regional Medical Center, where he died. Authorities are still not confirming that the ingestion of the laundry pod was the cause of death and it could take weeks for medical examiners to issue an official ruling on the death.
Consumer safety watchdog, Consumers Union has been working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to pressure the manufacturers of the laundry detergent packets to change the packaging so it is less appealing to children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled the increasing numbers of children being harmed by these detergent pods as “an emerging health hazard.”
It is a manufacturer, distributor or retailer’s duty to assure that the products they offer are safe for consumers. If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective or defectively designed product, call Farah & Farah at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.