When those so-called detergent “pods” hit the market a few years back, they were supposed to make our lives easier.
Just pop one in the washing machine or dishwasher, and off you go – no measuring, no mess.
But it turns out those pods are causing a different – and tragic — mess all their own.
A new study has found that the number of children being poisoned by detergent pods has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Kids are being left severely burned, in comas, or even dead after getting their hands on the pods.
It’s a tragedy that’s already affected tens of thousands of children. But with a couple simple precautions, you could keep a child or grandchild you love from being next.
Michael was just 7 months old when he popped a laundry detergent pod in his mouth.
By the time doctors tried to save his life, it was already too late.
I’ve been warning you about the dangers of these detergent pods for a couple of years now. And I’ve shared how thousands of children have mistaken the brightly-colored pods for candy.
And, unfortunately, heartbreaking tragedies like Michael’s are becoming more common than ever.
Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Center just finished analyzing calls to emergency departments from 2013-2014. And they found that more than 37,000 of those calls involved children under the age of 6 who were poisoned by detergent pods.
These were kids who went into comas, stopped breathing, and suffered burns to their lungs and throats – two of them even died.
And the problem is only getting worse. According to lead researcher Dr. Gary Smith, the number of kids poisoned by the pods actually increased by a frightening 17 percent during the study.
And during 2015, the numbers jumped another 7 percent.
“All they have to do is put [the pods] in their mouth and bite down and the packet will burst, and once these toxic chemicals get down their throat the game’s over,” Smith said.
It was almost “game over” for Marlow, a 6-month-old from Texas who needed emergency care and an IV after she grabbed a laundry pod out of her mother’s purse.
“We call them poison pods now,” her mother said. “My daughter only had it in [her mouth] for a few seconds and she was impacted by it, so I can only imagine a toddler going to town on one and swallowing the entire thing.”
A big part of the problem with the pods is their design. They rupture easily, and aren’t sold in child-resistant packaging.
That’s something that consumer advocates want to change – but don’t hold your breath.
Child safety experts say that your best bet, if you have kids under 6 or young grandchildren who visit often, is to stop buying detergent pods altogether.
Regular detergent is less toxic, and is less likely to be mistaken for food.
Second, even if you don’t have young kids running around the house, you should make sure you put your pods where your pets can’t reach them.
The detergent in the pods can be just as toxic to animals as it is to the rest of us.
“Laundry packet poisonings increase in kids” John Bonifield, April 25, 2016, CNN, cnn.com