Small children can easily mistake these detergent pods for candy. Photo: ABC News
Laundry detergent pods may be a quick, convenient way to do the wash, but they're also proving to be especially dangerous to kids. For just the first half of 2015, over 6,000 children under 5 have ingested the toxic detergent, accounting for reports made to poison control centers across the country. Not only that, but serious incidents with detergent pods make up nearly half of all laundry detergent-related calls to poison control, as well as a dominant majority of cases serious enough to require medical treatment.
With such alarming statistics that show no signs of dropping, Consumer Reports has issued a serious warning on detergent pods. The watchdog organization has withdrawn recommendation of the products until additional precautions are introduced to make them safer.
So what makes laundry detergent pods so hazardous to children? If you look at the packaging for these products, you'll figure out why immediately. With their bright colors, smooth, round surfaces, and shiny exteriors, detergent pods would easily be mistaken by a child for candy or an infant's teething toy. And as any parent knows, it takes not time at all for kids to slip out from under supervision and into trouble. While responsibility and common sense dictate placing household cleaners away from the reach of children, we also need to recognize that unforeseen accidents can happen in the space of a single moment.
There are thousands of children who are victims of laundry detergent pods. Just last year mother of two Jill Koziol, for example, was washing the family's clothes and set one of the colorful pods on a hamper for a split second, enough time for her eight-month-old daughter Cate to bite into it. Cate's respiration was severely disrupted, and the baby ended up spending two days in intensive care.
Companies have been seeking to increase safety measures on the detergent pods in order to make them less accessible to children. These steps range from placing the products in opaque containers with extra security latches to giving the pods (and the detergent contained within them) a bitter flavor. Such actions may make for a good start in preventing future poisonings, but Consumer Reports is right to withhold its recommendation - families with children under 5 years of age should steer clear of detergent pods altogether.