(Associated Press) Miniature laundry detergent packets arrived on store shelves in recent months as an alternative to bulky bottles and messy spills. But doctors across the country say children are confusing the tiny, brightly colored packets with candy and swallowing them.

Nearly 250 cases have been reported this year to poison control centers. Though they remain a tiny fraction of the thousands of poisoning calls received every year about household medicines and other cleaning supplies, doctors are concerned. The symptoms they see in connection with ingesting the packets — such as nausea and breathing problems — are more severe than typical detergent poisoning.

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