Laundry detergent pods posing safety risk for kids

July 25, 2013 4:52:53 PM PDT
Packaging changes are coming to some of those new laundry detergent pods because children may be mistaking them for candy or treats.

Laundry detergent pods are a convenient way to do your laundry because they require no guesswork or measuring. But as Consumer Reports has been warning, these colorful pods can pose a danger to young children.

Poison control centers have received more than 95-hundred reports of children five and under coming in contact with or ingesting pods since early 2012.

Dr. Darshan Patel at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital has seen the problem firsthand.

"Kids are naturally drawn to them. And when they get them, they're water-soluble. So as soon as they go into the mouth, they start to dissolve," said Dr. Darshan Patel, chief of pediatrics at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital

Pods from Tide and Costco's Kirkland Signature are top performers in Consumer Reports' cleaning tests, but their candy-like packaging and easy access are a real concern.

"Procter and Gamble, maker of Tide Pods, told us they would help address the problem by phasing out this clear plastic container, hopefully by the end of year," Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico said.

The new packaging has a container little ones can't see into. But Procter and Gamble says it has no plans to phase out Tide's easy-open pouch, which the company says some consumers prefer

"We're concerned these appealing pods may still find their way into small children's hands," DiClerico said.

Then there's Costco's Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs that come in clear containers. They look a lot like those used for snack food, and they're easy to open, too.

"Costco also told us they'll be introducing an opaque container in August, followed by a child-deterrent lid, but not until early next year. The bottom line here is it's really important to keep all detergent out of the reach of curious children," DiClerico said.

If a small child ingests one of these pods, it can lead to excessive vomiting and has caused some victims to stop breathing. They can also cause serious eye injuries. If you suspect your child has come into contact with a detergent pod, call the poison-control hotline immediately at 800-222-1222.

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