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Laundry Pods can Poison Children, Study Reports

Update Date: Nov 10, 2014 09:28 AM EST
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Laundry pods are very convenient to use. Despite their ease, families with young children might be better off avoiding this product. According to a new study, researchers are reporting that these little colorful packets can pose a huge threat to kids who might try to eat them.

"If I were a kid, I'd like to pick it up and play with it ... it looks like it was made for young children to have fun with," study co-author Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, chief of toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital and medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, said according to FOX News.

For this study headed by a team at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, the researchers reviewed the number of reports that were called in to the U.S. poison control centers. From 2012 to 2013, a total of 17,230 children under the age of six had eaten, inhaled or were exposed to the chemicals from the detergent pods. The majority of these cases, at around 66 percent, occurred in children aged one to two.

Overall, 48 percent of the cases led to vomiting. 13 percent of the cases involved coughing and choking, 11 percent were tied to eye pain or irritation and seven percent were linked to drowsiness or lethargy. The remaining injuries were burning, mouth pain, difficulty breathing, and windpipe issues. 768 children were hospitalized. 30 of them went into comas, 12 experienced seizures, and one died.

"[When] a child gets into powders or liquids, they might want to take a taste of it, [and] get some accidentally on their fingers, and decide to clean their finger by popping it in their mouth," Casavant said. "Usually it's a very, very, very small dose. In our experience, a child gets into a pod, gets the full dose, [and] can't control how much gets into the mouth."

The researchers advised parents who want to purchase laundry pods to keep them on the top shelf, away from children. The team added that manufacturers should considered changing the design or the composition of the detergents to make them less appealing to children and less toxic.

The study was published in the journal, Pediatrics.

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