Colorful Detergent Pod Claims Infant's Life

By Staff Reporter / Aug 19, 2013 07:17 AM EDT

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A seven-month-old infant died in Florida after ingesting a candy-looking miniature detergent packet, according to several media reports.

The tragic incident occurred despite the constant efforts of government authorities to spread awareness of the risk involved in keeping colorful detergent pods at a home with small kids. Though the country has seen thousands of laundry exposure cases, this is the first case where a soft liquid detergent capsule, claimed a life.

The deceased baby boy, Michael Williams swallowed the contents of the detergent pod which was kept inside a laundry basket on the bed at a battered-women's shelter in Kissimmee, Friday afternoon, Orlando Sentinel reported.

The infant was sleeping when the mother went out, but on her arrival, she was shocked to learn that her son had already finished the contents of one packet and was starting to have his second one.

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The baby was breathing, but coughing when the paramedics arrived. Though he was rushed to Osceola Regional Medical Center, the doctors couldn't save the baby's life.

Officials said they were investigating the case and it would take some more time to confirm the actual cause of death.

"The death of little Michael is a tragedy," the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) spokeswoman Terri Durdaller wrote in an email to the Orlando Sentinel, according to Orlando Sentinel. "It reminds all of us as parents the dangers of leaving household cleaning supplies around our little ones."

The single dose detergent packet has been very popular among Americans since its introduction in 2010.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) first released a warning notice in May 2012, highlighting the hidden risks associated with the pods. They cited the cases of a significant number of small children, who had fallen critically ill after mistaking the pods for candies and eating them. 

Later in September, a study found five such occurrings within a period of 18 months. According to the authors, the strong alkaline cleaning agents have the ability to destroy tissue and cause intense inflammation and swelling. In October 2012, CDC and AAPCC conducted an investigation on the issue and found more than 500 poison cases related to the detergent pods. 

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