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Mr. Yuck At The Ready

June 20, 2012
Wetzel Chronicle

My son Andrew is now 14 months old. For any of you who know much about babies, that means he is right in the middle of one of the toughest periods for parents.

He's old enough to be mobile and curious, yet young enough to not know better than to get into trouble.

In short, he is into everything! While we try to watch his every move, we all know that isn't quite possible. Just in the past week he's had a few undesirable and potentially dangerous thing in that little mouth of his.

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Thankfully none seemed to affect him too adversely.

Probably a couple months ago I received a press release from the West Virginia Poison Center and I thought I really should put that number in my phone, because with "Bam Bam" around (yes, that is our nickname for him for little muscle man), I might just need it.

Would you know that on that very day my babysitter called me concerned that he had gotten into something potentially dangerous. I called the hotline and found out, thankfully, that there was no danger.

So this week I received another press release from the center and thought that I should pass it along. While I am too cheap to purchase these newfangled "single dose packs" of laundry detergent and hopefully free from the danger to Andrew, it is certainly useful information:

The West Virginia Poison Center is urging parents and caregivers to keep highly concentrated "single dose packs" of laundry detergent up and away from children.

Poison centers around the country are reporting a recent increase in calls about exposures of children to laundry detergents packaged in small, single-dose packets. "Because the packets are colorful and squishy, they are attractive to children. They can be mistaken for candy or something fun to play with," said Carissa McBurney, community outreach coordinator for the West Virginia Poison Center.

However, some young children and toddlers who have put these small packets into their mouths and swallowed some of the detergent have become very ill and have required hospitalization. Other children have gotten the product in their eyes, resulting in significant eye injury.

Poison centers receive many calls each year about children getting into laundry detergent. Usually, swallowing laundry detergent causes mild stomach upset or even no symptoms. Poison center experts say the new laundry packets seem to be different. Some children exposed to them experience excessive vomiting, wheezing, and gasping. Some get very sleepy. Some even have had trouble breathing and have needed a ventilator to help them breathe.

The West Virginia Poison Center recommends the following:

-Always keep detergents locked up and out of the reach of children.

-Make it a habit to put laundry products away when you have finished using them.

-Follow the instructions on the product label.

-If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

The West Virginia Poison Center provides comprehensive emergency poison information, prevention, and educational resources to West Virginians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The WVPC is staffed by nurses, pharmacists, and physicians with special training in treatment of poisonings. Located in Charleston, W.Va., the WVPC is a part of the West Virginia University-Charleston Division. For more information visit



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