Are You Using Liquid Laundry Packets?

Laundry - it's a never-ending part of all of our lives. And like many things in the world today, the detergents that we use are evolving. In a short period of time, we have seen laundry detergents come in many forms, including powder, liquids, HE liquids and more recently, liquid laundry packets. There are lots of reasons why companies look for better formulas or forms, but that's not the point of this message.

Safe Kids is working with the Tide and Gain Up, Up, and Away Laundry Safety Program to raise awareness about a real concern for parents. Since 2012, more than 33,000 calls have been placed to the Poison Help line about liquid laundry packets. That's about 30 calls a day and it caught our attention.

You see, these packets are designed to dissolve in water and contain highly concentrated detergent. This is not a problem for older kids or adults who are not prone to putting everything in their mouths. But for young children, and especially kids who are one and two years old, who explore much of the world through their mouths, these laundry packets can potentially be dangerous.

At Safe Kids, our job is to make parents and caregivers aware of potential risks and to offer suggestions on how to prevent injuries. We also work with government agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that have oversight on potentially hazardous products and work with businesses to address specific concerns.

Much like any potentially dangerous product to kids, we are encouraging parents to:

  • Keep liquid laundry packets out of children's reach and sight.
  • Keep packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
  • If a child gets into a packet, call the Poison Help number immediately, 1-800-222-1222.

What can happen to a child who gets into a packet with wet hands or puts one into his or her mouth? The consequences can be quite serious and range from excessive vomiting, eye burns and irritation to difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. That's why keeping packets inside their original container is so important. Packaging is very important to preventing accidental access to the laundry packets. And it's why you will find warning labels on packages that are important to read and follow. Can more be done to protect children? We hope so and we are following the discussions about voluntary standards that are underway with the CPSC, manufacturers and consumer advocacy organizations.

You can purchase the formulation and form that works best for you and your family. If you use liquid laundry packets, I hope you will follow our advice. It's the best way to make sure young kids can be curious and be safe at the same time.

For more information about liquid laundry packet safety, visit