They are convenient and lightweight, but concentrated laundry detergent pods could be an alarming danger in your home if you have young children.
“The interesting thing with these detergent pods is, unlike normal detergent, if a child swallows just some laundry soap or detergent, they might get a little bit of a stomach upset,” said Dr. Mark Flanzenbaum, with KidMed Urgent Care. “But with these, they are so concentrated that what they’re seeing is that kids will have severe stomach upset, excessive vomiting, coughing, gagging on the packaging, burns to their eyes, abrasions to their eyes.”
They report a child is reported to a poison control center every 45 minutes, because of this problem.
The study looked at more than 62,000 calls made over the course of a year for kids under six. Laundry pod calls went up 17 percent and dishwasher packets 14 percent. The effects include cases of coma, respiratory arrest, fluid in the lungs, and cardiac arrest.
"If you have children that age and you have these laundry pods, and you see that your child is starting to gag or choke or that they're becoming very sleepy, lethargic, that's one of the other signs of it. Or if they're having difficulty breathing, absolutely call poison control and get the right treatment done," said Flanzenbaum.
A majority of the calls can be handled by just calling and using poison control centers. He recommends having the packaging with you when you make the call so you can be very specific about what your child may have ingested.
Dr. Flanzenbaum says there are efforts underway to make the packets more difficult to get to, by changing the container packaging. Some efforts have also been made to give the pods a bitter taste.
However, doctors say the bottom line is to just buy the old fashioned, un-concentrated stuff until your kids are older. It's a safer option.
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