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Kelly Nantel is vice president of communications and advocacy at the National Safety Council. • 1/29/2018

Steer Clear of the Tide Pod Challenge

If you have teens, let them know their lives matter more than clicks, views and likes.

Steer Clear of the Tide Pod Challenge

​Blog – Do you know where your laundry detergent is?

That may be an odd question, but if you have children, you might want to check. A new social media fad is attracting young people and drawing concern from health and safety experts.

Videos on the internet show teens putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths in what has been dubbed the "Tide Pod Challenge." The behavior poses serious risks because the pods include dangerous ingredients, such as ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and polymers.

Young children can mistake the pods for candy because they are small and colorful, and at least 10 deaths have been associated with people ingesting the pods, including two toddlers and eight seniors with dementia, according to an online CBS This Morning report posted earlier this month.

Despite the dangers, teens seem inclined to put the Tide pods in their mouths and chew them for social media fame.

David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble, the maker of Tide products, wrote in a blog post Jan. 22 that seeing young people intentionally take part in self-harming challenges such as the so-called "Tide Pod Challenge" is extremely concerning. Taylor calls on parents and others to speak with children about how the desire for popularity can lead to poor judgment.

"Let's all take a moment to talk with the young people in our lives and let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes," he wrote. "Please help them understand that this is no laughing matter."

Poisoning deaths overall are on the rise, and the Tide fad is not the first dangerous activity to draw the attention of teens. Other harmful challenges have included the "Pass Out Game," where young people purposely make themselves lose consciousness, and the "Cinnamon Challenge," where someone places a spoonful of cinnamon in his or her mouth and tries to swallow it without water.

It is critical that parents have conversations with their children about such risky behaviors and know what's in their house.

The National Safety Council recommends scrutinizing all household products, including laundry packets, floor and furniture polish, cosmetics, paints, markers, glue, drain and toilet cleaners, oven cleaners, and glass, wood and metal cleaners.

Tide also has recommendations for its pod products.

"After each use, completely close the container and immediately store the container out of reach of children in an appropriate location," states

If you have teens, out of reach may also mean out of sight – or maybe out of your home all together – at least until this fad passes.


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