Laundry detergent pods poison more than 30 kids daily, report warns

Detergent pods like these are causing alarm for health officials. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Parents, you ought to stash your laundry detergent out of kids’ sight: yet another study is warning that kids are mistaking colourful laundry detergent pods as toys or candy, breaking into the packets and eating the liquid soap.

The latest findings suggest that these laundry detergent packets are “more dangerous” to young children than exposure to all other types of laundry and dishwasher detergent.

Researchers out of the U.S. Nationwide Children’s Hospital zeroed in on all calls made to poison control centres that were related to soap exposure among kids who were six years old and under.

Turns out, health officials dealt with a whopping 62,254 calls from January 2013 to December 2014. Sixty per cent of all calls were tied to laundry detergent pods and almost half of that group had to be referred to a hospital so the kids could be evaluated and treated appropriately.

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READ MORE: Parents call for change after product sample nearly kills toddler

Incidents tied to laundry detergent packets saw the steepest rise, too: a 17 per cent increase over the two-year study period. Poison control centres answer more than 30 calls a day related to these colourful pods. That’s one call every 45 minutes.

At least one child a day is admitted to a hospital in the U.S. because they broke into the detergent pods. The report points to two deaths tied to exposure.

“Unless this unacceptably high number of exposures declines dramatically, manufacturers need to continue to find ways to make this product and its packaging safer for children,” Dr. Gary Smith, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

Some kids end up with eye injuries, others end up in a coma, have trouble breathing or even encounter heart problems.

Canadian health officials say they’re reviewing the household item that’s causing alarm.

Last year, Health Canada said it had received 138 incident reports linked to poisonings from squishy laundry detergent pods.

READ MORE: Detergent pods poisoned more than 700 U.S. children in 2 years

Of those, 117 were international incidents, 13 were confirmed Canadian cases and eight were from unknown locations. Those 13 accidental poisonings didn’t result in death but the majority were considered serious cases.

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“Health Canada is aware of this risk and is carefully monitoring these products. We have regularly communicated to Canadians about the risk that detergent packets can pose since they came into the market in 2012,” Health Canada spokesman Sean Upton told Global News.

“Parents are reminded of the importance of keeping them carefully stored out of sight and reach of children,” he said.

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