Doctors: Hundreds of kids sickened by new detergent, some in Tampa Bay

5:59 PM, May 25, 2012   |    comments
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The Tide Pods look very similar to some kind of candy



Tampa, Florida - Poison control experts in the Tampa Bay area are warning parents to be careful with a new type of laundry detergent.

Hundreds of children are turning ill, in some cases severely, from swallowing the detergent.

Parents are also concerned because even doctors aren't sure what's causing the violent reaction.

The miniature laundry packets, like Tide Pods, are very colorful and may look like candy or a toy to a young child.

But in some cases, children who have swallowed them, have been hospitalized for a week, put on a ventilator, even slipped into a coma.

"It's very concerning and it's surprising that they're having such a violent reaction," said Tampa parent Darby Steadman.

Since the products went on the market a couple of months ago, more than 300 cases of children consuming them have been reported nationwide.

Six of those were in Florida, with four of them coming from the Tampa Bay region.

"We are coming out and saying to the public please be aware of this problem. Please take action to protect your children," said Dr. Cynthia Younger, medical director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.

Doctors tell 10 News the reaction is unlike anything they've seen with traditional liquid laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent.

"We don't know what the cause is yet. We know there's a problem," Younger said.

Doctors caution if you still insist on using the mini detergent packets, make sure to put it in a locked up cabinet.

"I probably just wouldn't purchase it if I knew there was such a risk," said Tampa parent Sissy Myers.

Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Tide Pods, announced plans Friday to redesign the packaging to make it safer for kids.

Doctors recommend all parents program the poison control hotline in their cell phone.

The number for the Tampa Bay area is (800) 222-1222.

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