Parents of toddlers, listen up: There is a potentially harmful product in your household- a product that has been around for only a couple of years- that could make your young person very sick.
Laundry detergent pods, those compact, self- dissolving, convenient means to clean laundry, were responsible for 769 hospital stays for children over the past two years, according to an official report published by the journal Pediatrics. The toxic content of these pods has resulted in seizures, comas, and even one death.
Poison Center Control centers say they have received 17,230 calls relating to detergent pods since they were introduced in 2012. In most every instance, the child involved is under 6 years of age and the vast majority of the children are not harmed in a serious way. But there are exceptions and this is why parents of young children need to keep the pods safely out of reach.
Why are detergent pods causing so many problems? The reason is because the small, often brightly colored packages look like candy or a small toy. Young people get hold of a pod, start squeezing it, and cause it to pop open. In some cases, the concentrated detergent gets into the child’s eyes, causing severe irritation. In other cases, children may ingest the liquid, leading to nausea, vomiting, or worse.
Toxic household cleaners have often been the cause of poisoning in children so what is happening with detergent pods is nothing new. Still, the appearance and packaging of detergent pods is particularly appealing to young children and this has convinced manufacturers to revise packaging and add additional warnings.
Detergent pods have grown in popularity since their introduction to the market about two years ago. The concentrated liquid is pre- packaged and ready for use. No measuring is needed- you just drop the pod into the washing machine, load the laundry, and close the lid. The outside of the pods automatically dissolves when it comes in contact with water, releasing the detergent into the washing machine. The convenience is great but the high concentration of toxic detergent and the benign appearance of the pods means greater risks for parents with young children.
Detergent pods are not likely to go away but they do require proper handling. Manufacturers can make the packaging more tamper- resistant and can add additional warnings, but it’s up to parents to keep these and other harmful chemicals out of their children’s reach.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey