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Banana? Yes. Detergent pod? No. Kensington police issue warning about dangerous Tide Pod challenge

Const. Robb Hartlen of the Kensington Police Service issued a public service warning Wednesday about the dangerous Tide Pod Challenge.
Const. Robb Hartlen of the Kensington Police Service issued a public service warning Wednesday about the dangerous Tide Pod Challenge. - Colin MacLean

All together now …

“If you don’t know just what it is

Remember, boys and girls

Don’t put it in your mouth.”

If you’re a Canadian under a certain age, chances are you learned not to eat dangerous things from a blue TV puppet singing those lyrics.

Const. Robb Hartlen of the Kensington Police Service is no different, which is why he found it a little distressing that he had to repeat that message on Wednesday.

Something called ‘The Tide Pod challenge’ has been gaining traction in some corners of the internet, and the Kensington police want to help put a stop to it.

The ‘challenge’ involves people biting into colourful laundry detergent pods, filming their reactions and posting them online.

It has led to the hospitalization of more than 40 people in Canada and the U.S. so far this year.

In an effort to reinforce just how dangerous the stunt is, Const. Hartlen created a Facebook post Wednesday morning in which he highlighted some items that are OK to eat – and some which are not.

“We’ve got a Coffee Crisp here. Yup, you can definitely put that in your mouth. Tide Pod? No!” remarks Hartlen in the video.

“Now we’re going to get a little tricky here. Maybe you think you want to take the drone challenge? No! Does not go in the mouth. Do not eat the drone – do not eat the Tide Pod.”

Hartlen said he got the idea for the video from a Concerned Children’s Advertisers public service commercial from the early 1990s, in which the furry blue puppets sang a song about what is OK to eat, and what is not.

The first verse, assuming it’s not already seared into memory, is:

“Don’t you put it in your mouth.

Don’t you stuff it in your face.

Though it might look good to eat.

Though it might look good to taste.

You could get sick.


Real quick.”

After only a few hours online, Hartlen’s video had been shared hundreds of times and reached thousands of people.

The more people who see it, the better, he said.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to something that is potentially very, very dangerous.”

“If the post stops one person from doing something that could hurt them, then perfect. From the inception of the Kensington Police Service’s Facebook page we’ve tried to use humour as a vessel to push a good message, and that’s what we’re trying to do here as well.”

This is not the first time the Kensington’s Police Service’s Facebook page has hit a large audience with a humorous take on a serious subject.

In 2016 Hartlen used it to post a tongue-in-cheek threat to force drunk drivers caught at Christmastime to listen to a Nickelback album.

That post went viral, earned international news coverage and eventually resulted in Hartlen apologizing to Nickelback. Though he also used the platform the post provided to spread a message against impaired driving, creating a contest to help discourage it.



Tide Pod Challenge.. Really people? Thanks to Mike's Independent Grocer in Kensington for the Tide Pods!!

Posted by Kensington Police Service on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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