Children Mistake Detergent for Candy

Poison control centers issue warning about colorful cubes of concentrated detergent

Poison control centers are warning parents about concentrated single-dose laundry detergent after children -- including 57 in Texas -- have mistaken the colorful cubes for candy and eaten them.

The so-called "pods" are promoted as being simple to use. There's no liquid to make a mess and no powder to measure.

Children who eat the detergent often require hospitalization, with symptoms ranging from vomiting to trouble breathing.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers urges parents to keep the detergent locked in a cabinet or on a high shelf away from children.

"Yeah, that looks like candy, honestly," said mother Becky Schmidel, of Irving.

When shown a jar of the packets, her 2-year-old son, Ben, said he thought it was candy.

Tide, which is among companies marketing the detergent, puts a warning label on its bottle that says, "Keep out of reach of children."

A warning seal is also taped to the lid.

Tide's owner, Procter and Gambel, acknowledges that parents need to be careful.

"Like any household product, they need to be kept away from little inquisitive hands," spokesman Paul Fox said.

Schmidel said it's up to parents to keep their children away from the detergent.

"I can understand both sides of it, because they want it to stand out on the shelves [for adults]," she said. "It's really up to the parents, I believe, to keep their children safe and keep that out of harm's way."

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