Dad looking at laundry clothes while the boy looks confused

Tackling household chores togetherMost of us are aware that we need to baby-proof our homes, including keeping medicines and cleaning supplies up high and locked away so that curious toddlers don’t get into them.

Recently, multiple teens across the country have been posting videos of themselves biting into laundry pods on social media, bringing to light that we may need to “teenage proof” our homes as well.  Exposure to the contents of these pods can cause serious health problems. Chemical burns can occur causing visual deficits if the contents get into the eyes. Other serious consequences of laundry pod ingestion include trouble breathing or inability to breathe, seizures, coma or even death.

To keep teens safe, we need to use those same baby-proofing methods of keeping these products out of sight and out of reach, but also have an open discussion with teens about the consequences of their actions. While it would be great to just tell your teen, “Hey, don’t do that,” unfortunately this method doesn’t always work.

As with other sensitive subjects, it can be helpful to approach your teen non-judgmentally and ask about the topic in a general way. For example, you may say, “Hey, have you heard of this laundry pod challenge?”; “Are any of your friends doing this?”; “Why do you think people are doing it?”; or, “Can you see any reasons not to follow this trend?”  Hopefully, this will lead to a more productive conversation with your teen and save you a call to poison control or trip to the emergency department.

If your child does get into a cleaning product, please call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.

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Jennifer Stiff, M.D.

Jennifer Stiff, M.D., was born and raised in Owensboro. She received her bachelor's from Bellarmine University and her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in pediatric medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She and her husband, now call Louisville home. On the weekends they can be found running through Seneca park, cheering on the Cards or discovering new restaurants.

All posts by Jennifer Stiff, M.D.
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