The guardians of a toddler who was hospitalized after ingesting a laundry detergent pod over the weekend say their child may not have survived if not for the quick actions of paramedics.
Hunter’s parents say the incident, which unfolded at the family’s home in Aldergrove on Sunday, serves as a reminder to all parents that freak accidents can occur in a matter of seconds.
“You take your eyes off of them for two seconds, and it can just happen so quickly,” mother Kayla White said.
White and husband Shane Doane say their toddler somehow managed to open the door of their front-loading washing machine on Sunday before they had started a laundry cycle. Doane had prepared the load, complete with adding a Tide Pod tablet, but hadn’t yet started the machine as they feared it would wake their son from his nap.
“I walked over, I checked on Hunter. I walked back long enough to turn the rice off on the stove. And that’s when I heard Hunter gurgling from around the corner,” White said.
“I knew something was wrong right away,” Doane said.
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Hunter was hospitalized at Langley Memorial Hospital on Sunday evening, after the incident occurred. His parents say he had suds coming from his mouth and nose, and he was having trouble breathing when paramedics with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) arrived on scene.
The family wishes to publicly thank the paramedics, who they believe saved their son’s life in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, who BCEHS has identified as Perry Thiessen and Daniel Burns.
White and Doane were told by hospital staff that this was far from the first young patient they’d treated for ingesting a laundry detergent pod.
According to 2016 statistics from the BC Poison Control, laundry detergent pods were behind 150 emergency room visits—and 467 calls to poison control—in a three-year period.
The vast majority of patients hospitalized for treatment are children under the age of six.
“When a child bites into a laundry pod, the detergent can actually squirt to the back of the throat, which causes swelling in the back of the throat, which ultimately leads to difficulty breathing.” Wendy Machana, BCEHS director of patient care for the Fraser Valley, said of the incident.
Hunter was discharged from hospital Tuesday morning with a clean bill of health, but he is still being monitored for respiratory issues. His parents and grandmother hope sharing their story may help prevent another family from going through a similarly traumatic incident.
“It was a rough few days, definitely,” Doane said. “But I’m glad he’s doing a lot better and he’s back to his old self.”