FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Like most
3-year-olds, Marcellus Flemister can be curious and impulsive. His mother said when she was about to do a load of laundry a few months ago, she put aside a detergent pod and then got the scare of her life.
"I turned my back and next thing I know, my son has this dripping from his mouth. He bit it or something. I don't know," Union City mother Shenna Flemister told Channel 2's Tom Regan.
"All this stuff was on his mouth, he started just started throwing up. It was food coming. It was only this right here," she said.
In a state of panic, she called the Georgia Poison Center, an operator there told her to repeatedly rinse out her son's mouth with water and watch for any ill symptoms, including gagging, flush skin and breathing problems.
"I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what was going to happen, because this is washing powder," Flemister said.
The Poison Control Center said
it has received more than 260 calls so far this year about young kids ingesting or biting detergent packs; much more than all of last year.
"So we are up 25 to 30 percent just in these types of exposures. That's an alarming trend," said Dr. Gaylord Lopez.
The detergent industry is planning additional packaging changes to discourage children from accidentally ingesting laundry pods.
In the meantime, Flemister says she has learned to treat pods like any household cleaner, keeping them well out of the reach of little children.
"I just always keep them by me because kids are slick. You turn your
head, anything can happen," Flemister said.