Frightening new research shows that an alarming number of children continue to eat toxic laundry detergent packets.
According to national poison data published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, from 2013 through 2014, the number of calls to poison control centers increased by 17%.
Of that number, more than 22,000 children were reportedly exposed to laundry packets, according to CNN.
When the calls for help came in to the centers, about 30% of the children, many under the age of 3, were "already in or en route" to a hospital.
While in most cases, children exposed to laundry detergent packets suffered from throat burns, eye injuries, and vomiting, others went into comas or cardiac arrest. Two children died, according to the national data.
As the researchers point out, this chilling data shows that laundry detergent packets may be more toxic and dangerous for children than any other form of detergent, like powder or dishwasher packets.
"Differences in chemical composition and concentration between laundry detergent packets and other types of detergents may account for the higher toxicity observed," the researchers wrote.
Although laundry detergent packets have reportedly only been sold in the U.S. since 2012, they’ve caused plenty of damage.
While the neat little packets offer parents an easier and cleaner way to do laundry, their bright colors and pretty designs can also attract children.
P&G, which makes detergents including Gain and Tide, has even tried to do some damage control by designing their laundry detergent packets so that they’re harder for children to open.
"Accidents happen regardless of a laundry packet's color or design, so we are focused on reducing access to the packet and its contents," Shailesh Jejurikar, president of P&G Fabric Care, North America, said last year.
At the end of the day, however, researchers are urging parents with children under the age of 6 to stay away from laundry detergent packets until their kids are old enough to understand how dangerous they can be.