Despite warnings here, there, and everywhere, laundry pod poisonings are on the rise, and exposure to these pods is more dangerous than other types of laundry and dishwasher detergent. During a two-year period, U.S. Poison Control centers received more than 62,000 calls related to detergent packets and detergents — 60% of the calls were with respect to “pods” or detergent packets. That number works out to be about 30 calls a day, or one every 45 minutes! The study showed that the pod-related incidents increased over the course of the study (from January 2013-December 2014), an alarming trend considering that warnings have already been issued about their potential allure to children. Additionally, manufacturers have already made changes to their containers to make them harder for kids to open and less visually enticing. Read on to find out why you should reconsider the place of the pods in your home.
If you’ve ever seen a detergent packet, it’s no wonder why kids try to eat them: they come in bright hues (some even two-toned or sparkly), are soft and squishy to the touch, and are the perfect size for taking a bite. Add this appeal combined with the fact that little kids can’t read and typically aren’t interested in checking the sides of detergent packet boxes for those handy poison symbols, and you have a seriously tempting and dangerous situation. Children under the age of three accounted for most of the poisoning cases, with the research encouraging families with young children to double down on their poison prevention by using traditional detergent, which is less concentrated and typically less toxic — and by poison-proofing their homes and keeping detergents of any type way up high and out of the reach of little ones.
We get it: you are trying to do a million things at once, and you have a tot who gets into absolutely everything, so naturally she’s headed for those candy-colored pods as soon as you so much as blink. Unfortunately, the risks and hazards of these laundry detergent packets outweigh any benefits if you have little ones around, causing Consumer Reports to cease recommending these products. Children who were poisoned by the detergent packets ended up more often in a health care facility than children exposed to other types of detergents with at least one child every day ending up in the hospital after detergent packet exposure. Poisoned-by-pod kids were also more likely to suffer serious health issues such as coma, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and even death. We put our adult stash of candy far from the reach of our tots (and it’s not just because we don’t want to share) so it makes sense that poisonous substances should occupy the same out-of-sight, out-of-mind placement in our homes. Regardless, we’re ditching the pods until we deem our kids old enough to actually help with the laundry. By that time, we figure they’ll be old enough to know better… and they’ll probably be doing whatever they can to stay away from that daily chore.
Lead image via CPSC