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Laundry detergent pods: can they poison your kids?

September 21, 2012

Could convenience cause more harm to little ones? It could. When it comes to laundry and dishwashing detergent, the new capsules, or “PODS”, are the way to go. They are less messy, easy to store, and easy to use. And, they are pretty to look at too. That’s where the dangerous part comes in.

Little kids, especially infants and toddlers, like to explore with their hands and their mouths. And the problem is, these detergent capsules look more like candy than soap. They are bright, shiny, and squishy- what toddler wouldn’t be enticed by them? However, the film that creates this “bubble-like” texture is designed to dissolve quickly, allowing the packet to be easily bitten into or squished, causing the liquid detergent to leak onto kids’ hands or into their mouths.

A few weeks ago, the National Poison Information Center in the UK released a statement that brought attention to this very issue. It stated that liquid detergent capsules were the most common product ingested by young children over a 14-month period. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 2,950 children under the age of 5 have been exposed to liquid detergent packets based on calls received from January 1st to August 31st of this year. Children who are exposed to the liquid detergent are experiencing more symptoms than expected, and parents are warned that it is their responsibility to keep detergent capsules out of reach.

So, how do parents protect their kids from detergent capsules?

Young children are full of curiosity and feel the need to explore, touch, and taste almost ANYTHING. As a parent, it’s important to be proactive, instead of reactive, when keeping young kids out of harm’s way. Here are some simple solutions to help protect your little one from detergent capsules:
  • Don’t allow young children to help with the laundry or dishwashing, if detergent capsules are used. Becoming familiar with these candy-like objects will only peak their interest more.
  • Keep the capsule containers out-of-sight and out-of-reach in high and locked-up cabinets.
  • Inform family, friends, and caretakers about the dangers of detergent capsules.
  • Print out this Poison Control fact sheet to have in your home, or in your child’s daycare center.
If your child ingests or touches his/her eyes with liquid detergent, call poison control immediately at 1-800-222-1222.