Laundry pods pose major risk to little kids

Jul 17, 2015 at 11:10 a.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/Vrabelpeter1/Royalty-Free

Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendation of laundry detergent pods, saying they're too much of a safety hazard for young children to recommend. The magazine commends manufacturers who tried to make them less dangerous but says their efforts just aren't enough.

More:Should laundry pods have better packaging?

It's too bad, because they're quite handy and less messy than traditional liquid detergent, but the number of incidents in which children are harmed by them is staggering. The American Association of Poison Control Centers notes that 6,046 children aged 5 and younger were exposed to these laundry packets in the first six months of 2015 alone. That's a pretty significant number, especially when you consider there were roughly 12,000 calls to poison control centers in 2014. More than 30 children ingest laundry pods and require medical assistance each and every day, according to KGWN.

The problem is that they look like candy. They're colorful, bright and just the right size to pop into a little mouth. So it's not surprising that kids are attracted to them.

More:Surprising dangers to children in your home

"Young children are explorers, and they like to put everything in their mouths," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to shielding children from unintentional injuries. Given a laundry pod's ability to soften in water before expelling detergent, Carr explains to WFMY News 2 that they can also dissolve on wet fingers or when put into the mouth.

It's important to note symptoms associated with the consumption of laundry detergent capsules. The AAPCC mentions wheezing, excessive vomiting and even abrasions to the eye. In some cases, children will become very drowsy.

Parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to keep detergent containers tightly sealed and out of a child's reach if they are going to be used in a household.

If you believe someone has come into dangerous contact with a laundry pod, immediately contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

More: What toxic household items are you using?

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