Laundry detergent pods are incredibly convenient for many consumers, but what are the risks of these little packets of chemicals? Recent studies have confirmed that laundry detergent pods pose a severe risk to young children. Children often mistake the squishy pods as toys or candy. In just two years, over 700 children in the United States have become seriously ill by accidental poisonings and ended up being hospitalized. There has been at least one documented case of a child dying from the accidental poisoning of a laundry detergent pod. Over 100 children who were poisoned by the pods had to be intubated to enable them to breathe.
According to poison control centers throughout the country, there have been over 17,000 logged calls from parents and caretakers whose children accidentally came in contact with the poisonous substance in under two years. The reports were made in reference to children who were under the age of six, most of whom had ingested the pods. The most severe effects of coming into contact with these pods are coma and seizures.
Earlier this year it was reported that a two year old boy, Easton Hatfield, managed to climb on top of a washing machine and began playing with the laundry detergent pods that pose a severe risk to children. The pods burst in the child’s hands, and the chemicals ended up getting into his eyes. The doctors who cared for the young child stated that there was an 80 percent chemical burn to both of his eyes. His mother claims that her son still has trouble opening his eyes without feeling intense pain.
Doctors are not sure what it is in the pods that makes them so severely toxic, but are warning parents to be cautious if they make the decision to have these cleaning products in their homes. According to Dr. Jakub Furmaga, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, many of the accidental poisonings are occurring in stores or on the way back to the child’s home after a purchase. Parents place the laundry detergent pods in their shopping carts, and the kids get into them. In addition, kids are getting them out of the grocery bags in the car, or while their parents are putting the groceries away.
If parents believe their children have come into contact with the poisonous substance they are urged to contact a local poison center, and/or immediately take them to the emergency room. Managing director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo says parents will notice symptoms of ingestion of the poison immediately. If the child ingests the toxic chemicals they will cough and begin to choke, which can ultimately lead to inhaling the chemicals into their lungs. Eye irritation and burning of the mouth are also symptoms to look out for as well as gastrointestinal problems.
Parents will ultimately make the decision as to whether or not they want these laundry detergent pods that pose severe risks to children in their homes. If they choose to, it is wise to put them in high cabinets or even rooms where children do not have access. These pods have become very popular in the past four years, but before they emerged there were very few reports of children being poisoned by laundry detergent.
By: Rebecca Savastio