In hindsight, maybe brightly-colored, individually wrapped dollops of laundry detergent weren’t such a great idea from a safety point of view. Sure, they’re popular: pre-measured soap is handy, and they keep people who use laundromats or apartment building machines from hauling giant bottles around. The disadvantage is that even with warnings to keep the products on a high shelf and promises to change the packaging to make it more childproof, kids everywhere seem to find the pods irresistible.
In one 18-month span, doctors at a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland documented five cases of children between the ages of 10 and 24 months who required hospitalization after eating detergent pods. All recovered, but one spent time on a ventilator and another needed surgery because of swelling and ulceration. All five kids made full recoveries, but the cluster of cases alarmed the doctors enough to make them write about it.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission is concerned because pod ingestion leads to more serious problems for kids than consuming liquid or powdered detergent would. (Not that drinking detergent is ever a good idea, kids.) They often suffer nausea and metabolic problems, and when packets burst, the soap may damage the child’s eyes.
Lock up your soap pods, laundry and dishwasher alike.
Single-dose detergents a poisoning hazard for young children [Consumer Reports]
Liquid detergent capsule ingestion in children: an increasing trend [Archives of Disease in Childhood]