Mini laundry detergent packs a hazard to young children

Health Canada warns of incidents of children ingesting miniature laundry detergent packs

Health Canada says they are  aware of incidents of children ingesting miniature laundry detergent packs. The lightweight, colourful single use detergent plastic packets dissolve in water. These brightly coloured packets with their squishy texture are attractive to children.

Laundry detergents are powerful cleaning products that may contain ingredients which can lead to harmful health effects upon ingestion. Children who swallow the detergent packs may experience a variety of serious symptoms including severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or breathing difficulty.

Consumers who use miniature laundry detergent packs need to be aware of the hazards these packs pose to young children.   Laundry detergent packs should be stored in a location where they cannot be found or swallowed. Consumers should also exercise caution with dishwasher detergent packs as they may pose the same risks.

Health Canada states that children should not be permitted to play with any consumer chemical products; and that all cleaning products, including laundry detergent packs, should be stored in a locked cabinet or drawer and out of the reach of children. Installing a child safety latch is also an appropriate alternative.

Consumers are advised to keep the number of their local poison control centre near the phone, or on speed dial.

In the event that your child has ingested any consumer chemical product, contact your regional poison control centre, or dial 911.

Health Canada is working with the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres to gather information on incidents that may have been reported to provincial poison control centres.  The products involved in the reported incidents are the subject of on-going review by Health Canada to determine compliance with applicable regulations.

In Canada, consumer chemicals (such as household cleaners or automotive products) fall under the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR, 2001) issued under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and must meet the requirements of the Regulations.  Consumer chemical products which do not meet these regulatory requirements cannot be imported into, advertised or sold in Canada. Should it be determined that additional action is required to enhance the safety of these products, Health Canada will advise Canadians.

For more information: contact the Public Enquiries Line at 613-957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.

Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to report any health or safety incidents related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic.