"Poison Control, Please Hold..." is a message I heard Sunday evening. Yes, in the midst of my panic and tears, they told me to hold. My need to contact Poison Control wasn't an emergency however, it was still upsetting because I've never had to call before. Sunday evening at bedtime, my dear little boy and I were taking the 40 minute trek to our new home. I tucked him in his car seat with his blanky and hoped he would drift off to dreamland quickly. We left our old home with a car full of goods that needed to go into the new place. There was barely enough room for the two of us. I stopped to fill up with gas and while I was doing so my dear little Dennis the Menace was happily sucking on my bottle of Shaklee Liquid Laundry Detergent. Why didn't I move this box when I got out of the car??? He was already playing with the paper goods in that box on our way to the gas station so something was bound to happen. I knew better than this. I got in the car and moved the box. Since I use Shaklee products, I wasn't even remotely worried about what he had consumed. I just moved the box in a huff and we continued on our merry way, in the dark, towards the countryside of North Dakota. As soon as we were on Interstate, my little one started coughing. Now, he's had a cold for a week and has been coughing himself to sleep lately. I didn't think much of it. But then I heard it. That sound I wasn't planning on hearing for at least another year. Yes, it was the sound of a child vomiting in the car. I quickly pulled off onto the next exit, assuring him that everything was going to be ok. I'm amazed that my instinct was to first read the bottle of detergent. It instructed me to give him water, which luckily we had some with, and then to call Poison Control. He drank the water as I cleaned him up and dialed. I was also amazed that I had long saved the number to Poison Control in my phone. I hoped never to call but was damn glad it was in my phone! (Go program it now 800-222-1222) It was a hot mess to say the least. As I said, when we connected with Poison Control they first told me to hold which I thought was a little funny however, it was an extremely brief hold and we were quickly connected to an agent.
I explained the situation to the rep and her first question was, "Was it one of those pods??" I said no but it sure made me wonder about how many times she's heard this story with a pod involved. Please for the love of all things holy, either do not buy these candy like baby magnets, or get them locked up! Anyway, she then asked if it was the Shaklee liquid or powder and I said liquid. She then proceeded to tell me that it has a rather high PH balance and that I need to watch my son over the next few hours to make sure his cough doesn't persist because it could be burning him inside. She said just watch him and that she would call me back in a hour. Well, alrighty then. Those really weren't the words I wanted to hear but we will keep going and pray for the best.
So we continued on our journey but as soon as I was on Interstate again, my poor boy vomited again. Between that and the information the lady told me at Poison Control, now I was concerned. I got off on the next exit, cleaned him up, and turned around to bring him into the doctor. Of course as we traveled back towards the old house, he calmed down and fell asleep so instead we went back to the old house to give him a bath and change his clothes. I cleaned the car seat (gag!) the best I could and we tucked back in for the journey to the new house. We made it and he continued sleeping through the night just fine with no cough or any other concerns.
Poison Control called me back about two and a half hours later. Now that we were already home and things seemed to calm down, I was able to think about what the lady was saying and ask some questions. I was not pleased with the first conversation that this detergent was a concern so I asked some questions. I asked her why this was a concern because I was under the impression that it was safer and more natural. She said, "The PH in the product is as high as your store bought detergents so it's just as toxic." Just as toxic? Um, ok? That's how the conversation ended but that didn't sit well with me. It didn't sit well with me because I use the product and I tell all of you to use the product. I needed more information for myself and for you!
So I called Shaklee and was able to speak to a gentleman who is on the product research and development team for their laundry detergent. First of all, ask yourself how many companies would let you talk to someone of this caliber?? I was impressed and relieved he had the answers I needed. He explained PH levels to me in terms I could understand! Shaklee's laundry line has a PH between 8-9. Pure water is at 7. Other store detergents are over 10. Human skin can come in safely come in contact with levels from 5 to 9 before burning can occur. While it appeared that the Shaklee PH is higher, it is actually in a much safer range if it comes into contact with a human. I told the gentleman what Poison Control told me and he then explained the surfactants of the products. (sur·fac·tant /sərˈfaktənt/ noun plural noun: surfactants/a substance that tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.) Shaklee's surfactants are made of the most natural materials possible where store bought detergents used synthetic ingredients and other chemicals. He spoke of how the Shaklee products are better for the environment and our households for these reasons. As we closed the conversation, he reiterated that we should continue the best practice of keeping our kids the safest by limiting access to cleaning products, no matter which brand you use!
Needless to say, it was an eye opening experience; from the puke to the Poison Control to the call to Shaklee. I'm happy to report my little boy came through this with nothing more than some dirty clothes and a good life lesson scare. It made me grateful for the products that I use and was thankful for the reminder to keep things out of our children's reach.