01 Feb What Are the Health Risks of Tide Pods?
For generations, kids have been “daring” each other to do silly things or make risky choices. While the act of “dares” is nothing new, there is a new type of dare that has become a bit of an epidemic—known as the Tide Pod Challenge.
These dares are being recorded and circulated throughout social media, and as the name suggests, it highlights kids eating liquid laundry detergent packets. Some kids are popping them in their mouths like a snack, others are biting into them and drinking the interior or even cooking them in frying pans to consume them.
It should come as no surprise that experts are all in agreement that the Tide Pod Challenge is dangerous and that kids, parents and teachers should be aware of how serious this recent trend is. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has always warned about the safety of Tide Pods and children. This is because they smell sweet are colorful and look fun for small children.
Yet, no one knows how suddenly children and teens started eating these pods as a challenge. According to a report in the Washington Post, the U.S. Poison Control Centers received reports of nearly 220 teens who consumed Tide Pods, and around 25% of these cases were intentional. After only a matter of days into 2018, it was reported that 37 cases of teens eating these pods were reported to Poison Control Centers, with half of them being reported as intentional.
These are only the cases that have been reported. If you get on the internet, you will see countless videos of kids eating these pods and posting them for their friends to see, and the number of cases is only growing.
So, if Tide Pods are just soap, why are they so dangerous?
Many kids don’t take the warnings about Tide Pods seriously because they assume they are just soap. After all, many parents have been “washing their kids’ mouths” out with soap for years.
This is a false assumption. Tide Pods contain more than just soap. They are highly concentrated pods of detergent and feature several different dangerous chemicals. These pods are covered by a dissolvable membrane that holds all of these ingredients in. When you bite into these membranes, these chemicals essential explode inside the mouth.
This can be extremely painful, causing burns to the mouth, esophagus and respiratory tract. Some individuals with compromised immune systems (including very young and very old individuals) have been rushed to the E.R. or even killed from eating these packets. Other side effects include:
- Life-threatening breathing issues
- Damage to the esophagus
- Interior burns
- Extreme blood pressure changes
- Loss of consciousness
- Neurological damage
The good news is that different organizations are attempting to fight back against this craze. Both YouTube and Facebook have recently announced they will remove material showing anyone participating in the challenge. Famed NFL player Rob Gronkowski also stepped up and released a video with Tide, discouraging kids from engaging in this practice.
The more you know about this dangerous practice and the more you can discourage your kids from trying this practice, the better. If you suspect your child has consumed a Tide Pod, it is important to call poison control right away, the national number is 1-800-222-1222.