(NEW YORK) -- Poison control officials are now issuing new warnings to parents about using brightly-colored laundry detergent pods that look like candy after a 7-month-old Florida boy died from ingesting one at a battered women's shelter in Kissimmee last week. It's believed that the death of the infant, identified as Michael Williams, is the first known fatality from swallowing the pods.
However, the American Association of Poison Control Centers says that as many as 5,700 youngsters have gotten ill from eating them during the first seven months of 2013 alone. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that "children might be attracted to the pods because their colorful appearance and size are similar to candy."
In the case of the infant's death, Stacie Miller, a Kissimmee police spokeswoman, said that the mother had placed detergent pods given out by the shelter in a basket next to a bed where her son slept. After stepping away, she saw he had eaten one of them and was chewing on another.
The boy was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
Consumer Union's Senior Policy Counsel Ami Gadhia says this incident reminds the public of the dangers of these highly-concentrated detergent pods.
Gadhia adds, "We would like to see manufacturers make these products less appealing so they don't look like candy to children and to perhaps even put a bittering agent on them so the child can spit it out instead of swallowing it."
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