Background Exposure to liquid laundry detergent packets is an emerging risk for young children in the United States. In 2014, poison control centres in the U.S. received 11,711 calls about children 5 and younger having been exposed to laundry detergent packets. This is an 11% increase in calls from 2013, and an 85% increase from 2012. In a study of calls to U.S. poison control centres from 2012 and 2013, more than 700 children under six years were hospitalised and experienced serious effects as a result of exposure to laundry detergent packets. The number of exposures was greatest among 1- and 2-year-olds. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children can experience loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, excessive vomiting, severe eye burns, and temporary vision loss.
Methods Safe Kids conducted a review of existing data and recommendations from the CPSC and the American Association of Poison Control Centres to inform the development of a national awareness campaign and educational materials for caregivers of young children.
Results The campaign garnered a total of 489 million impressions from traditional media and digital activation. We provide 400 Safe Kids’ coalitions and more than 100 national public health and safety partners with access to bilingual educational materials and digital activation tools. We incorporated key safety messages into 180 local events reaching 125,000 people.
Conclusions The statistics are alarming, and there are global concerns as well. Changes to product design and packaging, including the addition of warning labels, are underway in many countries. Educational and awareness efforts in several countries are raising mindfulness among caregivers of this emerging risk to younger children. Safe Kids is exploring opportunities to extend education and outreach efforts in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Canada, Japan, Israel, Austria, France and Poland.
- liquid laundry detergent packets
- education and training
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