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Kids Can't Get Enough of Tasty, Toxic Detergent Packets

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Apparently, little children will eat anything.

Or anyways, that seems to be the only logical conclusion from this story, out of Nashville, that includes a number of X-rays taken at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Here are a few examples of things children have eaten: a nail, a coin, and two bullets (yes, two, presumably because one wasn’t enough).

Worse yet, one doctor at the hospital claims to have removed the same item from a child twice in one night. This has led him to adopt a finders keepers policy, just to be safe.

What’s the latest craze in non-edible edibles for children? Miniature detergent packets.

Tide (PG), Purex, and other companies have all put out their own versions of the packets, which are marketed as a low-hassle alternative to boxes and bottles. Unfortunately, different models are also brightly colored and bite-sized, making them irresistible to children.

According to MSNBC, over 250 cases of packet detergent poisoning have been reported to Poison Control Centers in the last year. When ingested, the packets have lead to vomiting, drowsiness, and, in some cases, to children being put on ventilators.

While eating detergent is always a bad idea, the effects of the packets are much worse than with other products. Doctors are not completely sure why this is, but theorize that the packets contain more detergent than a child would otherwise ingest, or that the detergent activates quicker.

According to the Dr. Brent Furbee, who directs Indiana’s poison control center, “Detergents can cause some irritation, but haven't been particularly threatening to kids… But this looks like it's going to be a bigger deal."

On their end, detergent companies remind parents to keep cleaning products out of reach of children.

Several state Poison Control Centers have issued warnings to parents about accidental ingestion of detergent. Others are preparing to issue warnings now.

On a lighter note, here’s a fun Sporcle where you guess what’s stuck in someone’s body from the X-ray.
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