Laundry detergent packets

Learn how laundry detergent packets can be dangerous to children and to adults with cognitive impairment. Also find information on how to safely store these packets.

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Health risks of laundry detergent packets

Because laundry detergent packets are small and often brightly coloured, children and adults with cognitive impairment can mistake them for food or toys. This can lead to a child or an adult with cognitive impairment swallowing the laundry detergent packet, which can cause:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • coughing and choking
  • breathing troubles
  • stomach pain

A laundry detergent packet can also burst in hands with only a small amount of pressure. The packet's membrane can also dissolve quickly with moisture. Contact with the contents of a laundry detergent packet can cause:

  • rashes
  • skin irritation
  • eye irritation

Similar products, like dishwasher detergent packets, could pose the same risks.

Keep children and adults with cognitive impairment safe from laundry detergent packets

You can help prevent a serious injury involving laundry detergent packets by:

  • keeping them safely stored out of sight and reach of children and adults with cognitive impairment
  • reading the label and following instructions before use
  • handling them carefully and using them with dry hands

What to do if someone has come in contact with laundry detergent packets

If you think someone has been harmed by contact with a laundry detergent packet, immediately call:

You can find phone numbers for the Poison Control Centre nearest you:

  • at the front of your local telephone book
  • by searching the Internet for a Poison Control Centre by province or territory

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