Warning: Danger of laundry detergent pods to children


Parents are being warned about the dangers related to colourful detergent pods after research shows the resultant poisoning of hundreds annually.

The pods have become extremely popular in households as they are easier to use and do not cause as much mess as the powdered form of detergent.

However, experts have issued warnings that children are at danger as they mistake the brightly-coloured pods for toys, juice or sweets.

A study done in the US found that one child under the age of six is taken to the A&E every hour, after swallowing the corrosive contents or suffering burns to their eyes.

The study found that one child per day was hospitalised during 2012/2013 due to this problem, and one child had died during that period. Around 66% of the cases involved children aged one and two, who had played or bitten into the pod, causing it to burst. Around 50% became ill after coming into contact with the concentrated solutions whilst other suffered from choking, coughing, irritation, eye pain and drowsiness.

In the UK, research has shown that around 1500 poisoning cases were reported due to these pods.

The study was undertaken by Public Health England’s National Poisons Information Service and found that of the patients who had received treatment for poisoning between May 2009 and July 2012, 96% were under five years old.

Eighty percent of the cases involved young children swallowing the liquid, whilst some cases included contact with their eyes and skin burns.

Parents have been advised to store detergent capsules out of reach of small children at all times. They should seek advice from their GP or call NHS 111 if their child has come into contact with one of these pods. A child who has swallowed the contents of the pod may choke, cough or vomit soon after ingesting it and may become drowsy.

According to researchers based at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Central Ohio Poison Centre, parents of young children should consider not making use of the capsules at all. They advised families to go back to using traditional washing powder in a bid to reduce the risk of poisoning.

Some manufacturers have tried to overcome issues with the designs of the containers of the capsules, by not making them transparent and offering child proof latches, however there are still clear containers which can be easily opened by a child.

Image Credit: US CPSC


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