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UPDATE: Hitterdal 1-year-old who swallowed laundry packet breathing on own

FARGO – The 1-year-old Hitterdal, Minn., boy still hospitalized after swallowing part of a laundry detergent packet last week is slowly getting better, family members say.

Alexander Rohde is listed in “critical but improving” condition at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, where he’s been since the accident Saturday.

His mother, Michelle Klienschmidt, said on Friday morning that doctors removed the ventilator that was helping Alexander breathe.

"He's breathing really well," she said.

However, Alexander is suffering withdrawal symptoms as a result of being taken off sedation drugs. Klienschmidt said her son is vomiting and has diarrhea, and may need to be medicated again.

He is crying a lot too, but no sound is coming out. "He's made some noises, but he's really hoarse," Klienschmidt said.

Once Alexander stabilizes, he will be moved out of pediatric intensive care and into the regular pediatrics unit. His long-term prognosis is still unknown.

Alexander ate part of a Tide Pod, a small packet of laundry detergent that the family had just brought home from a store that day.

The pods are brightly colored packets that some say are too inviting to young children.

Alexander became ill quickly with vomiting and diarrhea and began having trouble breathing.

Marsha Geray, the boy’s aunt, is working on an informational “Facebook blast” for parents and had started an online petition to try to convince Procter and Gamble, maker of Tide Pods, to change the packets’ labeling and packaging.

She says the family followed the product label, which said, “If ingested, give milk and call poison control.”

“It made him worse,” said Geray.

She said had the label instead warned, “May cause respiratory distress. Call 911,” perhaps her nephew wouldn’t be so sick.

The boy was transported to Sanford first by FM Ambulance, then the remainder of the way by LifeFlight helicopter.

Geray will also push for Tide Pods to be individually packaged, making it tougher for little ones to gain access.

In the meantime, the family just wants Alexander to get better.

“We want the prayers to keep on coming,” said Klienschmidt.

Robin Huebner/Forum News Service

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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