Sunlight Discontinues Sample Program After Child Almost Dies Ingesting Sample

Other / Canada


Last week, the Lee family received a sample of Sunlight laundry pacs and their 21 month old daughter found it, opened it and ate the laundry pac (likely thinking it was candy) spending almost a week in intensive care before thankfully recovering.  You can read the full story here.

The family, while taking responsibility for not having it out of the child’s reach themselves, claim that every toxic item should be childproof and Sunlight have discontinued all mail-outs and future sample programs while they look into the packaging.

I don’t know about you, but I take my family’s safety as my own responsibility.  Most laundry detergent is not childproof (and in my case, certainly not cat proof – they will chew through any box of detergent just because it is cardboard), especially once the container has been opened.  I take the little elastics off the sample packages of laundry detergent and put them into a plastic container to keep them dry.  It is second nature, just like writing the date on food I freeze so I know how long it is has been in there.

My heart goes out to this family for the pain and worry this must have caused them, but are sample packs really to blame?  Is it possible to child proof everything?

57 responses to “Sunlight Discontinues Sample Program After Child Almost Dies Ingesting Sample”

  1. Kristin says:

    It’s the parents responsibility. If they didn’t want to chance it harming their child they should have put it away somewhere or thrown it out. I say this as a parent. Obviously it’s terrible what happened but I’m tired of situations like this occurring and everyone else suffering for it.

  2. oly says:

    I agree, you cannot child proof everything and it is the parents responsibility to watch and protect their own child. we used child safety locks on cupboards to contain dangerous items, knives, cleaners, etc. as an extra precaution. My kids never got injured or sick as a result. It angers me that some parents always try to lay the blame on companies for their lack of common sense. they should not have kids or pets if they cannot protect or take care of them . End of story.

  3. I would agree…while we take every step possible to insure our childrens safety…sometimes we are going to miss something. While understandably the parents are concerned for their child, as we all would be…blaming a company for the incident is unnecessary…once a package comes into my home, I am responsible for it storage and usage.

  4. neicey says:

    I agree with Kristin. It is the parents responsibility, not sunlight. I am so sick of people not taking responsibility for themselves. Are we becoming like the U.S where suing for everything is the norm.

  5. makapaka says:

    Dumb as molasses parents!

  6. bhlombardy says:

    Agree with Kristin: Parents responsibility absolutely. This is no different than had they bought the detergent at a store and brought it home and stored it improperly.

    While they didn’t ASK for the product, they handled it after it was delivered and chose where to leave the product when they brought it into the house. More care should have been exercised in handling the product.

    I especially take offense to the father’s quote “This is about what THEY’VE done to our daughter” — Sun Products did NOTHING to their daughter – neither directly nor indirectly.

    If the child had been diabetic, and the sample was actually candy, they’d be in the same position. Would they be asking the candy company to package the sample in a child-proof package? Unreasonable.

  7. Haha says:

    Read the story and 99% of the public agree that the parents are to blame and should not have kids if they are so dense!! Makes my blood boil that these parents are like many who always try to lay the blame for their own inadequacies!

  8. Stephanie says:

    My son just started to crawl, and we are struggling to keep him away from all dangers. Even watching him 24-7 and trying to childproof everything we can think of, it is impossible to prevent all accidents. I don’t think we should call them bad parents. I also don’t think it was Sunlight’s fault

    • FallenPixels says:

      I don’t think they are bad parents, you turn your back for one second and something can happen (and they do take responsibility for not putting it out of her reach) but I do not agree with them blaming sunlight

  9. AB says:

    Mistakes happen, I don’t think they are bad parents and I don’t believe it’s Sunlight’s fault. If they had known it was detergent, they should have put it on a shelf that she couldn’t reach.

  10. Natalka says:

    It’s awful that it happened, but of course it’s the parents’ responsibility.

    More recently, Tide pods were in the news, but I see it’s happening with other detergent pods

  11. glowworm2k says:

    I feel bad for the child who was injured, but this isn’t the responsibility of Sunlight. Last time I checked, there were warning labels on products like this that say “DO NOT INGEST” and “KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN” in bold, block lettering. Those warnings tell parents everything they need to know to protect their children even if those parents appear to be lacking in common sense.

  12. Anna says:

    Having kids is not easy – but babyproofing your home and making sure they don’t get their hands on anything is YOUR responsibility. Now Sunlight has to find another way to market their new products because one person didn’t do their job as a parent.

    Obviously I feel bad for the child and am very glad they recovered but geesh.

    I remember once I had a box of cleaners that I didn’t like sitting in a free box at my yard sale so they could be used up and someone gave me a lecture about it being dangerous on the floor for small children – sorry but my yard sale isn’t a daycare!

  13. Lisa says:

    I think this is a situation where we can’t place anyone at fault without having been present. It’s certainly not sunlight’s fault but some people are so quick to judge parents. I have two very young children myself and while I take every precaution I can possibly think of, there have been some sprint-to-avoid-disaster moments in my house and I think any parent who says they haven’t had to run to save a child who got something they shouldn’t have in the blink of an eye is probably fibbing to us.
    HOWEVER, if this had happened to me I would feel absolutely mortified and flooded with guilt and definitely not say it was the fault of a company!

  14. Trish says:

    And thanks to the ignorance of someone’s irrisponsibility, everyone misses out.

    I cannot believe they are putting forward the idea of child proofing a sample pack.

    Very silly.

  15. nicole says:

    I agree. THAOUSANDS of people miss out because of an incident involving ONE family. I do not think that these were bad parents but just that accidents do happen. You cannot blame a company for your mistakes.

  16. tuliprainbows says:

    Pods like this are they direction most dishwasher & laundry products are going in. There are other products that I can think of, one looking like little smarties that you can put in washer or dryer. I think the bottom line is that Sun Products put the big warning label on the package. That’s were the responsibility stops for Sun Products. There are so many things all around us every day that a child could touch, ingest or whatever that can cause terrible consequences.We just cannot control our surroundings all the time. The only choice we have is when children are so small is to have them with you or in sight all the time and as they are able to comprehend what you are saying, to teach them. My method of this was “unless Mommy or Daddy gives it to you, you don’t put it in your mouth. You come and ask Mommy.”. If seeing him put anything even chips that may be out and I see him.. I would ask him what did mommy tell him about putting things in his mouth, just to bring it back to mind & that helped him gain an understanding. This worked for us. However as one other person pointed out.. unfortunately there will be things that happen, but just try to not let it be because you were not paying attention. .

  17. adora says:

    Why hasn’t it been a problem with dishwashing pac? What do people do differently?

    I suspect that parents with lower socioeconomic status tend to use laundry pac because they are more convenient for laundromats. While parents with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to own a dishwashing machine.

    They are saying it should be childproof because they don’t want to be known as bad parents. I mean, accidents happen. Life is fragile. If you childproof everything, it could actually be more dangerous. Children could be less alert with danger, and ended up hurting themselves with more fatal injuries.

  18. Larry says:

    Maybe they should parent proof the packaging from now on ……………..
    It’s so easy to shift some or all of the blame to the manufacturer for the parents

  19. luckbealady says:

    I read the article, and I think it makes me want to use Sunlight products more.
    While it’s a horrible situation for the parents, the company is not to blame.

    The conversation should have been focused on the importance of keeping harmful products away from children and diligent parenting. The product itself (and the packaging) is secondary.

    It is in no way Sunlight’s fault that the parents unfortunately did not put the product in a safe place, and it’s ridiculous that the parents are calling them out for unsafe packaging. And it actually angers me that the father says “It’s about what they’ve done to our daughter…”. THEY didn’t do anything!

    I think Sunlight is quite admirable for offering to pay their ambulance fees.

  20. Susan says:

    This is another incidence of parents blaming companies for their mistakes. The parents should of kept the sample out of the child’s reach and looked after the child more. the parents should take on the responsibility solely.

  21. tobiwobi says:

    While I think it is awful what happened and don’t think they are ‘bad parents’, it’s obviously not possible to childproof all potentially toxic products.

  22. tobiwobi says:

    on one hand, they didn’t request the sample and are upset that they almost lost their daughter to ‘junk mail’ essentially, I see how they would just toss a pile of junk mail on table, not realizing that there’s anything there that they should put out of reach of their kid. but on the other hand how does “Avery pulled the bag down, causing it to break open” this happen? I thought you have to tear along the top, those things are sealed well so moisture doesn’t get in and disintegrate the pod. So if they didn’t realize that there is a pod among the junk mail and the packaging was such that it opened by pulling off the table by a toddler, I see that the parents have a point. But if it came in that ‘tear here’ packaging that doesn’t just open when you ‘pull the bag down’, then their story kinda falls apart. So happy that the kid is ok.

  23. MEME says:

    I have alot of difficullty ripping open one of those sunlight sample packs and generally use scissors to do so, I am a little unsure of how a 21 month old can get it open so quickly and injest the product without her parents noticing?

  24. melissa says:

    There’s obviously more to this story than the parents are letting on. I get those sunlight sample packs a lot as well and those buggers are HARD to open, there’s no way just falling off the shelf would cause the bag to open, I’ve ran over one with my stroller and that didn’t even cause the package to tear. So either the child is brilliant and can read “Tear here” and could tear it open herself,, had something to puncture the package with or it was opened by the parents before they left it on the shelf.
    It’s a horrible thing that happened, and I’m glad the little girl recovered, but this is in no way Sunlight’s fault, it’s the fault of the parents plain and simple.

  25. stellar11 says:

    I have small children and while I do my best to lock up all dangerous things and supervise them at all times, I have looked at these little laundry and dishwasher pods and wondered why the companies make them so they both smell and look like candy. Is it really necessary? I remember several years ago, the Presidents Choice brand added a bitter substance to its cleaning products to prevent accidental poisoning. I think it’s a great idea. Maybe these companies can help come up with solutions. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  26. Em says:

    I agree with tobiwobi and Meme. I just got a Sunlight sample in the last Sample Source giveaway and you have to tear it open along a specific seam at the top. Not very easy to get into. Regardless, I don’t think the blame falls on Sunlight and I also don’t think that they are bad parents. Unfortunately accidents happen no matter how vigilant you are.

  27. cdn75 says:

    Let the perfect parent throw the first stone.

    Kids get into things. Period. You can be hypervigilent in regards to safety and still have things go wrong.

  28. minifi says:

    Wow, the blame game. If your child ingests something because of your negligence, you’re the one to blame, not the company. How about, if you have a child at home, place those cute samples in hard-to-reach-places or hide them, or better yet, don’t order freebies/samples at all. Be a responsible parent!

  29. Sue says:

    Not Sunlight’s fault. You can’t childproof everything. Those parents should not be claiming better childproofing of packaging. Will create a greater cost, add greater frustration to purchasers when they try to use an (already) difficult to open product, and won’t stop a determined child or help a lazy parent.

  30. Laura says:

    Accidents happen every day, even with parent’s supervision. This is not Sunlight’s fault, but because there are people out there who look for the smallest opening to accuse the company, they did what they did. It’s unfortunate that the parents had to experience something like this, but maybe now, they’ll be more vigilant about leaving things hanging around.

  31. Anita says:

    do the parents also leave knives lying around for their child to play with? what idiots….I have 2 kids and it’s really not that hard to put dangerous things out of their reach AND keep an eye on them

  32. CJ says:

    I did not read the article by the parents of this child, and I do not support blaming a company for this incident. I do, however, support increasing awareness about these types of dangers. I use dishwasher tabs and would never have dreamed my child would think they were candy. I am glad to be aware of these situations. When we share about dangers it makes us all better parents.

    I am wondering if those of you that are critical of these parents have children? I am sad to see such little empathy for these people. One person even suggested that it was not fair for 1000’s to lose out on samples for 1 person’s gain-that is the gain of 1 LIFE, IMO. I can go without a little-bitty laundry detergent sample if it means that a child lives.

    I feel for these parents and am glad a message is getting out about these products. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do-if you are doing it well-and we should try to support each other. I hope that those of you so quick to throw stones will someday realize that.

  33. haine says:

    I feel like the family should have been more responsible, but I guess it doesn’t really help that the packaging itself looks like candy. I mean if I was young and curious, it really WOULD look like candy to me! Small and colorful. I mean i wouldn’t think a …panty liner sample is edible just because it’s not child proof because it’s a frign strip of cotton. So although it’s the family’s responsibility, I also feel that the manufacturer should be a bit more careful in packaging their samples WHEN needed. For example, putting that little sample in a small cardboard box, or putting in a bag that’s opaque (from what I remember the bag was see through) thus the child can’t see what’s in it and not be overly curious.

    Just my 2 cents.

  34. Sue says:

    Majority of comments here are from those of us with children. Children are curious. Forget that they might “think it’s candy”. They’re learning. Children learn by sight, by touch, by taste. The average age of a child drinking bleach is five. FIVE. Senses of taste/smell are still developing. And curiosity is on-going. Do we need to childproof adults to teach them this?

  35. glamorousgirl says:

    Personally I don’t think the pods look like candy.

    And really there of so many shiny, good smelling, tasty looking items out there. My niece bit through a glow stick once, she also ate dirt plugs when her parents were air-raiding the lawn. Some kids just like to put things in their mouths. If you have one of those kids then yes you put things up high and out of the way where they won’t get them. You teach them no. You teach them some things are not safe to eat.

    It annoys me to no end that people want company’s to take responsibility for their parenting skills (or lack thereof). And yes I have a child.

  36. elleqt says:

    It is sad to hear about this accident, and that’s what it is, an accident.

    The Sunlight sample I received in the mail, in a sealed box from Sample Source, was not sealed properly in it’s plastic bag. The pods fell out of the bottom as soon as I poured out the samples. Maybe this is what had happened to this family too?

  37. elleqt says:

    And once the samples, or anything, enters your home, it is your responsibility to keep things out of harms way, and put things away properly.

  38. minifi says:

    And they claim it’s not about money. C’mon, we all know it’s about money!

  39. Khristopher says:

    This is definitely the parents responsibility, and in no way is Sunlight responsible!

  40. Teresa M. says:

    I don’t agree with sunlight’s decision to end the sampling program. The package isn’t exactly easy to open. I used scissors to cut and open sample pack and I tucked it away on top shelf in laundry room. This is where I always stored cleaners or anything else that I wanted to keep away from little hands. The children have since moved out on their own but I still keep anything like this out of reach simply because it is safer to do so. I don’t see the good it does to point fingers at the parents or the company. I believe that it is each parent’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their children. I love sunlight and trust the brand name.

  41. Breylormom says:

    How do the samples differ from the actual product? I have both, and neither are child proof. Are they going to re-think their product packaging too??

  42. C says:

    This is 110% the fault of the parents. If you left open drano where your kid could get it, is it their fault your kid dies or yours?

    So sick of stupid people blaming everybody but themselves.

  43. Hoot says:

    I think they’re bad parents!! But not because their child injested the pod…. not at all because of this because as everyone says, accidents happen. The reason I think they’re bad parents is because THEY’RE BLAMING SUNLIGHT!!!

  44. Common Sense says:

    What packaging are we talking about here? Because the Sunlight laundry packs sample I recently got is still in it’s plastic package that it came in. The package is solid yellow colour and you can’t see the product inside (except for a picture. And though they are bright and interesting for sure, they do not look anything like candy!) I just tried to open the bag using the ‘tear here’ inscisions, and it’s not at all easy to do. I had to get scissors! A 21 month old simply does not have the dexterity or strength to rip that pack open. There are clear warnings to ‘keep out of reach of children’ on both sides of the package.
    The Sunlight sample pack (that I put on a high shelf in my laundry room the day it arrived) is already childproof enough.
    And for the record, I do have children and pets in my house.

  45. Bryce says:

    Man you people are heartless. CJ is one of the few with any sort of prospective. And Sunlight should take a look at their packaging in a case like this. A child proof package doesn’t mean that it needs to be in a locked safe. Most 21 month old kids can’t even get into a package of fruit snacks. How about just packaging it into a bag that doesn’t bust open when it falls 4 feet (coincidentally the reach of a 21 month old and the distance from the top of your washing machine). What an idiot engineer who designed that. My sympathies to the little girl and her family. The rest of you can go eat a sunlight tab.

  46. minifi says:

    “Nice work” by Global. The caption showed “Tom Lee, father” when it’s the girl’s mother talking on TV, and showed “Becky Lee, mother” when the girl’s dad appeared on screen. Sloppy.

  47. Judy says:

    I do feel sorry that this had happened to the family but in my opinion, the child’s parents just need someone to blame to make themselves feel better. A lot of things in the house can be a dangerous to children. It is parent’s responsibility to put dangerous item somewhere that their child can’t reach!

  48. Crystal says:

    A 21 month old child should be supervised, especially since the parents were aware that there was a potentially dangerous poison in the house, since they say they saw it and put it on a shelf. I feel horrid for the baby whose parents weren’t paying enough attention, but it is not Sunlight’s fault.

  49. AIrline_guy says:

    WOW, I am not all that surprised by some of the comments people are leaving.. But on the other hand I kinda am.. How is there so many in our society is SO SELFISH to turn this story around to themselves. IE: Now everyone has to suffer by not getting samples.. Now we all have to pay the price.. OMG.. Nice people, nice..

    Sunlight may not be at fault, but they are making the right decision by reevaluating the sample program.. If this can happen (for any reason) its worth looking at ways to prevent it from happening again before they resume samples. I for one would rather go without a stupid sample if it meant 1 child with stupid parents wont get sick or worse.

  50. sfaraz says:

    It is total responsibility of parents

  51. jmac says:

    I felt horrible for the little girl to have to suffer because her parents weren’t supervising her properly. These parents failed their daughter.

  52. JanM says:

    A two year old should never be out of a parent’s sight long enough to have time to open the package and eat something they shouldn’t. Use a playpen if you have to leave the room or take the child with you…..use common sense!

  53. Danifish says:

    All the parents fault…… Such a shame… Everyone else suffers because some parents are just not careful and aware… All part of being a parent…. So many things have been banned, discontinued, altered etc because of purely POOR PARENTING…. It’s stupidity like that, that makes me crazy!

  54. Mings says:

    The family has to live with the guilt that they nearly poisoned their own child. They don’t need me laying it on about how disappointed I am that I won’t get a sample.

    I hope the child recovers without permanent damage and this was just a hard lesson learned.

    Also, no need to air your dirty laundry in public, so this conversation thread is brutal. It paints a terrible picture of the family and of Sunlight who is using the family as a scape goat as the reason for not sending out the samples. The classy thing would be to say “sample mailings are delayed due to supply demand.” and if there’s no solution, send everyone a coupon.

    All of this is unnecessary. Gloating over alleged poor parenting is a form of bullying and we all ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

  55. Ruth says:

    It certainly isn’t the fault of Sunlight, but we don’t know how they arrived, any samples I’ve received from competitors require scissors to cut open the package. Some of them are not only child proof they are practically adult proof too! Accidents happen, but I have to comment that I notice that younger parents these days are very technically saavy, but perhaps not as common sense savvy! I often say that we should probably be requiring parenting licenses, just like we do require driver’s licenses.

  56. jay says:

    how stupid could parents be, damn people are getting dumber, and dumber each year. also when I was a little kid I knew from bad stuff to stay away from since parenting is all about telling your kids which one is good to consume and which one isn’t. freaking idiots in this world what are dumb people thinking now


  • RSS Hot Canada Deals

  • Recent Comments

  • Did You Know?

    Smart Canucks is Canada's first Canadian shopping deals blog and has been operating since 2005!

  • Join Mailing List




    Find Deals by Brand!