Laundry detergent that comes in a pre-measured pod may be convenient for busy moms, but it can be dangerous and even lethal to young children. Children are drawn to the pods because they are soft and colorful. They may be tempted to squeeze or bite the detergent pods. If squeezed and the liquid gets into the eyes, it can cause severe injury and irritation.
If the child bites and tears open the pod, the detergent can leak into the esophagus, causing extreme throat irritation. The detergent in the pods is highly concentrated and designed to clean your clothing while keeping colors bright and whites white. In one documented case, a seven-month-old baby bit into a pod and began coughing. Just an hour later, the child was dead.
Detergent manufacturers are taking steps to ensure the pods are placed inside properly labeled packaging with open and close mechanisms for child safety. Yet, all the precautions in the world will not take the place of good old-fashioned common sense. Detergents and other household cleaning items are considered poison if ingested. Parents should take extra care to be cautious when using them around small children.
The higher concentration of chemicals within the liquid detergent is why injury from ingesting the liquid is that much more severe. Some of the other side effects include choking, trouble breathing, severe vomiting, and burns to the esophagus. Any of these could lead to coma and even death. The best way to prevent these things from occurring is to keep the pods safely stored away from small children at all times.
Detergent manufacturers introduced the pods in 2012, and more than 1,200 3 to 4-year-olds have sustained eye injuries as a result of being exposed to the pods. Dr. R. Sterling Haring of Johns Hopkins University served as Lead Researcher in a study of toddlers and injury as a result of the pods.
Haring discovered the chemicals inside the pods are dangerous to the eyes because they are alkaline, which are more severe than acid burns in the eye. He also advised that if the cornea is injured as a result of exposure to the detergent pods, it would not heal as well because it lacks blood vessels. He stated, “there’s a high risk of long-term vision impairment.” That is not a risk worth taking if you have young children in the home.
Parents have to take care not to leave children unattended with poisons in the home. The items should be kept in a safe place out of children’s reach, and small children should not be allowed to handle the pods. Poison Control offers tips for effective ways to ensure your family remains safe from ingesting dangerous substances.
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