Dr. Cataldie's Corner

SUDS and the “Terrible Twos”

SUDS (Single Use Detergent Sacs) laundry detergents packets can be very attractive to toddlers. They can also be very toxic if they are chewed and/or swallowed. A recent study of about 600 kids who did just that, revealed serious medical consequences: severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe drooling due to swollen throat, and inability to breathe. Some children required having a tube put into their throats (tracheas) and being placed on breathing machines. Eye exposures to the detergent caused damage to the cornea of the children’s eyes. The average age of the child that got into the detergent packets was two years old. As you ladies, and some of you men, know, these single dose laundry packets are very colorful and are attractive to some children. (I sort of like they way they look myself.)

As for the “Terrible Twos”, that is a time in your child’s development where they seem to have a one word vocabulary. That would be the word “NO!” It is also a time where they seem to be into everything. The terrible twos and the “NO!” words are not signs of rebellion in your child. It’s a normal phase in which the child is learning independence and his/her mind is growing and his/her personality is continuing to form. The “NO!” word is a reflection of their limited vocabulary. But be assured that during the “terrible teens,” that vocabulary will expand to phrases like; “Leave me alone. I can do it myself. I’m not a baby anymore. Etc.”

But in the meantime, be patient with your toddlers and provide boundaries and keep the SUDS and any other hazards out of reach. And if there is an exposure, go to the Emergency Department.

Louis Cataldie, MD
Diplomate ABAM


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