Laundry detergent pods pose serious risk to children: study

Columbus, OH – An average of one child a day is hospitalized after being exposed to chemicals contained in laundry detergent pods, according to a recent study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Researchers found that U.S. poison control centers received reports of 17,230 children younger than 6 who had swallowed, inhaled or been exposed to laundry detergent pods from 2012 to 2013 – nearly one child per hour. One child died during that period, and about 800 children were hospitalized.

About two-thirds of poisoning cases involved children who were 1 or 2 years old. After they were exposed to the pods, 48 percent of children vomited. Other side effects included coughing or choking (13 percent), eye pain or irritation (11 percent), drowsiness or lethargy (7 percent), and red eye or conjunctivitis (7 percent).

The hospital offered the following guidance for parents:

  • Use traditional laundry detergent, which is less toxic.
  • Keep the pods high and out of sight. A locked cabinet is best.
  • Close pod packages or containers and put them away after use.
  • Store the national poison hotline number, (800) 222-1222, in your cell phone, and keep it near home phones.

The study was published online Nov. 10 in the journal Pediatrics.