Those pretty, teeny, tiny, swirly packets of commercial detergent on the shelves in America’s grocery stores are the hottest new consumer product — and a source of peril for America’s vulnerable children.
Nearly 10 people across the country have called the hotline of the National Fashion Association after small children placed the packets on their feet and attempted to go jogging. “The rapid onset of bubbles, particularly when these packets are misused on a rainy day, can be pretty scary,” says Michelle Bondler, publicity director of the Shoewear Alliance for Public Safety.
The question of why so-not-actually-that-many preschoolers have been strapping the new detergent pods to their feet in the first place is a puzzling one. One possibility, according to Buffalo River University Associate Professor of Home Economics Dae Z. Chen, is that they evoke brand strong suggestions, especially for youngsters who are regularly exposed to television advertisements. “The colorful presence of the Nike swoosh on the Tide packets in particular is instantly apparent,” explains Chen. “Over and over again, our kids have been told to ‘Just Do It.’ We should not surprised when 3-year-olds do as they are told.”
The National Fashion Association’s alert does not name particular products or brands, but advises consumers to be on the lookout for children with an intense curiosity regarding the objects. Reached for comment, an industry spokesman told Irregular Times that starting in summer the packets will be shipped with shoelaces attached to discourage use.