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Popular Laundry Pods Poisoning Children
Since their 2012 launch by Procter & Gamble, laundry detergent pods have quickly become popular and convenient alternatives to messy liquid or powder laundry detergents. These products essentially are pre-measured and highly concentrated detergents encased in water-soluble coverings that dissolve in a laundry cycle. They're soft, compressible and come in an array of bright colors. Unfortunately, that's just what makes them so appealing - and so dangerous - to small children.
Possibly mistaking them for colorful toys or candy, thousands of children have been injured or sickened by these laundry pods, according to results of a study published in the November 10 online edition of the medical journal Pediatrics. Findings include:
- 17,230 reports to poison control centers of children under the age of six who suffered injuries from the laundry pods.
- Of that 17,230, 80 percent of the young victims were injured as a result of ingesting the pods.
- More than 700 of these children became ill enough to be admitted to a hospital, with a large percentage requiring ICU (Intensive Care Unit) level treatment and many suffering seizures and / or falling in comas.
- At least one child died as a direct result of playing with or ingesting a laundry pod.
- Children under the age of three accounted for more than 75 percent of these injuries.
In many of these cases, children mistook the tiny laundry pods for candy and placed them in their mouths - a move that should come as no surprise to the parent or caretaker of a naturally curious toddler. A resulting squirt of the highly concentrated detergent into a child's mouth can cause choking, difficulty breathing and aspiration of the detergent into their lungs. The Pediatrics study turned up reports of approximately 100 children requiring a breathing tube placed into their tracheas to help them breathe.
Playing with the laundry pods also has resulted in detergent being squirted into children's eyes. This can cause chemical burns to the cornea, leading to permanent scarring and potential loss of vision.
Upon receiving initial complaints from parents and physicians, several manufacturers of laundry pods have responded by placing secondary latches on pod packaging and made the containers opaque so that children won't see the bright colors. However, the study's authors as well as parents, physicians and personal injury attorneys are urging manufacturers to place warning labels on packaging and to develop ways to make the pods and packaging more child-resistant.
If you use laundry pods, place them in latched containers and store them where young children won't be able to reach them. Also, explain to your children that they are not candy or toys and should never be touched. If you suspect that your child might have ingested or had skin contact with detergent from one of these pods, contact your local poison control center and take your child to the nearest emergency room. Keep the remainder of the pod intact, as it may be needed as evidence in a personal injury or product liability case, and contact Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates at 407-999-8995.