“I thought I was in the candy aisle when I say these,” Dr. Jose Flores says. These bright, inviting pods are accessible to tiny hands. They must be locked up and high out of reach to ensure the safety of your curious child. (Photo/Esteban Chavez)

Laundry detergent pods pose a danger to children, says study

Laundry detergent pods were made to be more convenient, but in some cases these colorful packets are proving dangerous for children.

A recent study reports that children eat these packets and are hospitalized daily throughout the country.

“This stuff is more concentrated than just soap,” pediatrician Dr. Jose Flores says. “They should just vomit but children have been aspirating and end up in the hospital.”

Experts say that 10 children a day open up the pods and swallow them. As many as 28 cases throughout the country on a single day were reported.

Dr. Bruce Ruck of the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System (NJPIES) explains that out of the 1,210 cases nationwide, 1,120 of them were children under 6 years old.

“We had a child here in New Jersey recently who needed to be put on a ventilator,” says Ruck.  Ten others have had the same treatment and another 10 have been intubated, adds Ruck.

Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumer Reports, says he sees a correlation between the number of reported hospitalizations and the amount of marketing on television lately.

“They look like toys and brightly colored candy,” says Hansen. “When you see this happening right after the product is introduced and people throughout the country are reporting this skyrocketing problem, you know there is something wrong,” explains Hansen.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the materials and chemicals in these products. People who ingest the detergent pods seem to have more severe reactions than past cases with either powder or liquid detergent alone.

“They found that kids suffer from severe nausea and vomiting and metabolic abnormalities,” Hansen explains. “There’s also the damaging part in their eyes. If the child bites into one, some of the liquid squirts out and can blind the child.

Hospitals are seeing levels of toxicity that hasn’t been reported with other detergents.  It is speculated that the combination of two different liquid detergents and powder detergent may be the cause, but no conclusions have been made.

“Parents and caregivers are reminded to keep all laundry and other hazardous products, regardless of their packaging, locked up and out of the reach of children,” the CPSC admonishes.

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