We’ve been warned about the dangers of keeping containers of Tide pods where babies and toddlers could swallow or choke on the pods. Now there is a frightening, new danger lurking in the laundry product for kids and teens.

A new “challenge” is making the rounds on social media, putting children who try it at risk, Fox59 reports.

On the heels of the “48-hour challenge,” where kids dared each other to disappear for two days, and the deadly “Hot Water Challenge,” that claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl, comes “The Tide Pod Challenge.”

The latest trend in challenges, in which Tide pods are referred to as the “forbidden fruit,” features videos meant as a funny take on the product’s warnings label created to stop children from ingesting them, according to WCNC.

Now, kids and teens are taking the joke seriously by attempting to swallow the pods. But doctors warn it could have dangerous medical consequences.

Dr. Karen Jenkins, medical director of the Piedmont Medical Center emergency department discussed kids taking on “The Tide Pod Challenge,” explaining to WCNC:

“They don’t always have the comprehension at 13, 14, or 15 years old of lifelong consequences.”

Jenkins continued:

“It’s toxic soap chemicals that these teenage children are putting into their mouths. These are people who are going out and actively going to look for them to ingest them. I cannot believe that people are doing this.”

WCNC reports someone just placing the laundry detergent-filled pods in their mouths can cause permanent damage, even if they are not swallowed. And that damage can linger for a lifetime, according to Jenkins:

“They can cause chemical burns around the mouth and can cause burns inside the mouth, nausea and vomiting, you can get aspiration, pneumonia, and have breathing problems. It’s not a risk worth taking.”

According to ABC News, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen a rise in 2018 in the number of injuries linked to laundry pods. Approximately 40 cases have already been reported “of which around half were intentionally ingested.”

Fox 59 reports Tide’s parent company, Procter and Gamble, issued a statement following the disturbing trend:

Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they’re used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke.

Contact the American Association of Poison Control Center if you or someone you know has ingested a poisonous substance. The AAPCC can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222.

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