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Liquid Laundry Packets: An Update

Blog en español

single-use liquid laundry packetsAbout a year and a half ago, we began warning you about dangers connected to single-load liquid laundry packets. These packets are filled with highly concentrated, toxic chemicals. A 7-month-old in Florida died from swallowing the soap.

CPSC has received about 1,230 reports of children unintentionally injuring themselves with packets. Injuries include swallowing the detergent and getting the chemical in their eyes or on their skin. The Poison Help Line reports even more: Nearly 17,500.

Several companies that make these packets—Cot ‘n Wash, Dial, Procter & Gamble, and Sun Products—have agreed to make some changes to begin addressing these safety concerns. We want you to know about these changes, as CPSC was a driving force in making them happen. Importantly, though, we believe more must be done, and we’re continuing to call on companies to build more safety into these products more quickly and more robustly.

child warning label that appears on packages.Here are some of the changes so far:

Safety standards: Makers and sellers of laundry packets have come together, along with consumer advocates and CPSC staff, to start the process of creating a voluntary consensus standard. ASTM International, a standards setting organization, is overseeing this process. The goal is for all of the members to work together, as quickly as possible, to craft a strong safety standard that meaningfully protects children from these products.

Opaque packaging: Part of the allure of these packets for young children is that they can look like familiar items such as candy, toys and teething products. Companies have changed the containers that hold the packets to be opaque.

Labels and Warnings: “Keep Out of Reach of Children” and “Keep Contents Out of Eyes” safety warning stickers and graphics have been placed in multiple places on the containers. Also, look for posters and other warnings near laundry packets in stores. Warning labels alone are not the answer, but are part of a larger system of safety.

In addition, companies are researching a switch to containers that are more difficult for children to open. Safety latches—both on containers and on cabinets—can be a deterrent to children getting access to these packets. As with all household cleaning products, make sure to keep these packets tightly closed in the original containers and out of sight and out of reach of young children.

These companies also report that they are researching chemical formulations of the laundry detergent in the packets, with the goal to find formulations that remain effective, but are less toxic.

Our hope is that these first steps for these products make them safer and that all companies that make liquid laundry packets will join these safety efforts.

Follow these safety tips if you use these products in your home:

  • Do not let children handle laundry packets
  • Do not puncture or take packets apart
  • Do not leave loose packets around – keep them stored securely in the container
  • Store out of a child’s sight and reach in their original containers
  • Keep containers closed and dry
  • Read and follow package warnings and instructions

Remember, these packets can quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands and saliva. They can also rupture, releasing the chemicals into eyes. If you or your child swallows or is exposed to these chemicals, call Poison Help immediately at (800) 222-1222.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/03/update-liquid-laundry-packets/

CPSC Infographic: Portable Generator-Related Deaths

Blog en español

This infographic is also posted on CPSC’s Flickr page for easy sharing.

portable generator death information

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/cpsc-infographic-portable-generator-related-deaths/

Winter Weather Alert: Generators

Update: Jan. 6, 2014: Winter weather and extreme cold have been crossing the U.S. If you lose power, keep portable generators outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors. See below for more safety information. If you use a space heater to stay warm, follow these tips.

First Posted: Dec. 6, 2013

Dangerous ice and snow is sweeping across the plains, south, and heading east.  There are expected to be widespread power outages associated with this large storm.

Are you planning on using a portable gas generator to help you during or after the storm this week?

When dealing with severe winter weather and power outages some people take unnecessary risks. Do not take extra risks with your generator. It can be deadly. (Take a look at this infographic to see just how deadly.) Its invisible odorless CO exhaust can kill you and your family in just minutes.

Be safe. Put your generator:

  • OUTSIDE! Keep it at least 20 feet* away from windows and doors.
  • Do NOT put generators in garages or basements. An open door does NOT provide enough ventilation to save you from deadly carbon monoxide gas.

When you use a generator, be sure to have a working CO alarm in your home. (Note: You should do this anyway.)

Finally, know the initial symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness.

Get outside into fresh air quickly and call 911 immediately. Know what to do.

* Minimum distance recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s more information on carbon monoxide.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/01/winter-weather-alert-generators/

IKEA Reporting Child Death Involving Wall-Mounted Lamp; Recall

Do you have these wall-mounted IKEA children’s lamps in your home?

Recalled Ikea children's lamps

IKEA is recalling these lights and supplying you with free self-adhesive fasteners to attach the lamp’s cord to the wall.

Two children, a 16-month-old and a 15-month-old, got tangled in the lamp’s cord while the children were in their cribs. One child died, the other nearly strangled. In both of these instances, the children pulled the lamp cords into the crib.

Take down these lamps until you get and install the free repair kit from IKEA. Here’s IKEA’s contact information:

  • Toll-free phone: (888) 966-4532 anytime
  • Online at www.ikea-usa.com and click on the Recall link at the top of the page for more information.

This recall is the second in the past month involving cords strangling young children. In November, Angelcare announced a recall to repair movement and sound baby monitors after two deaths.  Keep all cords possible at least 3 feet away from your baby’s crib. Here are more @OnSafety blogs explaining various kid/cord issues.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/12/ikea-reporting-child-death-involving-wall-mounted-lamp-recall/

Stand by Your Pan: Thanksgiving Cooking Fire Prevention

Blog in Spanish

Thanksgiving Day cooking fires are triple the number of cooking fires on an average day.

See the pan on fire:

Pan on fire on a stovetop

Here’s what happens when you try to put out the fire with water:

A firefighter sprays water on the pan fire, exploding it.

The pan fire explodes.

Stand by your pan. In the event of a fire:

  • Cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames.
  • Turn off the stove.
  • Call 911.
  • Do NOT use water or flour on the fire. They can make the fire worse.
  • Keep an extinguisher nearby and use it if necessary.

Similarly, a turkey fryer can go from start to fire in less than a minute.

Turkey fryer fire before the turkey goes into the fryer and the fire afterwards

  • Never use a turkey fryer in a garage or on a porch.
  • Always use the fryer outside and away from your home.
  • Don’t overfill the fryer with oil.
  • Don’t put a frozen turkey in hot oil.

For more fire safety tips, visit CPSC’s Fire Safety Information Center

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/11/stand-by-your-pan-thanksgiving-cooking-fire-prevention/