Experts warn about dangers of potent detergent packs, pods

Child dies after eating detergent pod


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Laundry detergent may be to blame for the death of a 1-year-old child in central Florida.

Kissimmee police say the little boy was with his mother at a shelter for battered women on Friday when he ate a highly concentrated pack of laundry detergent and later died.

WKMG-TV has also confirmed the identity of the boy as Michael Williams.

The medical examiner said it could take up to 12 weeks to make an official ruling on the cause of death.

However, Terri Durdaller, a spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families sent this statement:

"The death of little Michael is a tragedy. It reminds all of us as parents the dangers of leaving household cleaning supplies around our little ones. Unfortunately, on average we lose 20 children each year to accidental poisoning in the state of Florida," said Durdaller. "We have had prior history with this family and at this time our investigation is open and ongoing. We continue to work with law enforcement as the investigation moves forward into the circumstances surrounding the poisoning."

Experts warn about the dangers of the potent detergent packs or pods, especially since young children often confuse them for toys or candy. The moment the detergent pack touches water, it starts to dissolve and for a child who puts it in their mouth, it can lead to big problems.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2012, poison centers received reports of 6,231 exposures to the highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger.

From Jan. 1 to July 31, 2013, 5,753 young kids have been exposed. Common symptoms include vomiting, wheezing and gasping for air and the packs should always be kept out of a child's reach.

In response to the growing problem, Tide announced in July it will no longer use clear packaging on its detergent pods, hoping that opaque packaging will prevent kids from confusing it with candy. However, Tide pods in clear packaging are still on store shelves in Central Florida.

Kissimmee police told WKMG-TV they are still working on their investigation report, which will then be forwarded to the State Attorney's office. It will be up to prosecutors to determine whether anyone will face charges in the child's death.

However, police said this was not intentional and the mother was not aware of how potent the detergent packets are.