The Dangers of Laundry Detergent Pods

In order to raise awareness of laundry detergent pod injuries and poisonings, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an alert to the public in 2012 about the risks of laundry detergent pod injuries, and the risks of poisonings the pods pose to children who are exposed to the chemicals inside the product.

The bright and colorful laundry detergent pods were introduced into the U.S. market in 2010 and are marketed by many different brand names.  The pods contain highly concentrated chemicals which pose a much greater health risk for children than regular laundry detergent and can cause severe to life threatening symptoms and even death.

Children who swallow regular laundry detergent will typically experience a mild upset stomach. Unfortunately, the symptoms for swallowing the highly concentrated laundry detergent pods cause more severe life threatening symptoms, such as excessive vomiting, wheezing or gasping for air, lethargic behavior, severe respiratory distress requiring intubation, and if it gets in a child’s eyes, corneal abrasions or scratches may occur.

Children mistaken the bright and colorful squishy laundry detergent pods for candy or teething toys, and they will put the laundry detergent pods into their mouths, chew on the them, and/or squeeze them in their hands causing them to rupture.  Each year there has been an increase in the number of reports involving poisonings and/or injuries to children under the age of 5 from laundry detergent pods.  In 2012, over 6,000 reports involving laundry detergent pods injuring children were received by poison control centers nationwide.  In 2013, more than 10,000 reports were made.  Unless there’s more public awareness, there may be more than 14,000 reports received in 2014.

Proctor & Gamble, manufacturer of Tide Pods, agreed to make several changes to their product packaging.  They altered the containers to an opaque material instead of using a clear plastic to keep children from seeing the brightly colored product inside.

Here is a true story posted on Facebook from a mom, Kelly Landry:

Wyatt  “For those of you who don’t know Wyatt bit into a laundry detergent pod on 7/25. Because of this he had to be intubated ( have a breathing tube) and life flighted from Sun Valley to Boise to be put in to the PICU. Apparently there is a certain chemical in the soap pods that create acid in the blood stream. After 2 days of IV fluids and several breathing treatments Wyatt is home. I will never again have these around my son. And just want other moms to be aware of what they can do!! (He bit into one that was clear).  Please feel free to share!!!!! Share share share!!! Help get the word out!!!”

Help me spread the word!  Keep laundry detergent pods and other household cleaning agents high and out of the reach of children.  Don’t even let your toddler or young child help you throw the laundry detergent pod into the washer.  One squeeze could pop the pod, spraying the liquid in your child’s eyes.   If your child has been exposed to a laundry detergent pod, call your local poison center at 800-222-1222 immediately.  If your child has ingested the chemicals inside the laundry detergent pod, or has gotten the chemicals in his/her eyes, call 911 or take your child immediately to the Emergency Room.

For more information see these sites:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6141a1.htm

http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-babys-death-highlights-danger-laundry-detergent-pods/story?id=19982495

Hi this is Terri Borman, author of Shapes Go to School and childcare specialist.  I provide quality care and education to children under the ages of five.  I use this blog to help promote my children’s book, but also to help promote the health and safety of all children.  If you would like a personally signed copy of my book, Shapes Go to School, click here!

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