Young children getting sick from ingesting laundry detergent capsules

Credit: NBC

Young children getting sick from ingesting laundry detergent capsules

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by Maria Schiavocampo

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 2:01 PM

An alert for parents when it comes to a certain kind of laundry detergent that's become a dangerous hazard to some toddlers.

They're called laundry pods, they're small, shiny and brightly colored, causing many children to confuse them with candy.

They're the latest in laundry: detergent pods - tiny packets that go right in the wash, no pouring or measuring needed, a time saver for busy parents.

"You put one in, close the laundry, and you're all set," said mom Tara Oolie.

But grown-ups aren't the only ones attracted to these pods.

"It feels like soap, but it looks like candy," said 5-year-old Calliope Oolie.

With their shiny packaging and candy coloring, an alarming number of children are accidentally eating these detergent packets, confusing them with sweet treats.

This spring Jessica Sutton's then 20-month-old daughter name found a laundry pod on the floor, and tried to eat it.

Vomiting, she had diarrhea, It was pretty much the symptoms of a stomach virus.

Thankfully, Isabella recovered quickly. but she's part of a growing number of children who are getting sick this way.

"I've never seen a consumer product that had that degree of injury in a small child," said Dr. Michael Wahl, Medical Director, Illinois Poison Center.

The pods, made by several different companies, came out just this year.

Already, there have been almost 3,000 cases reported of accidental ingestion, mostly in children five and under. That's approximately 13 cases per day reported to poison control centers nationwide.

Almost half vomited. Other effects include drowsiness and respiratory problems, sometimes requiring hospitalization and a ventilator.

"It's very concentrated. So when little kids bite into this concentrated detergent, it really reacts within their bodies in a different way than regular detergent does," said Dr. Wahl.

In a statement to NBC News, the American Cleaning Institute said "detergent manufacturers are re-emphasizing the importance of keeping single unit dose laundry detergent packets out of the reach of children. We are obviously very concerned whenever these situations occur."

Several of the manufacturers say they're redesigning the packaging so it's harder for little hands to get into.

Safety experts say parents should keep these detergent pods high up and in a locked cabinet if possible, or they suggest parents simply not buy them until their kids are a little older.

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