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Laundry detergent pods and kids: Avoid the dangers

As parents, it seems that we have more than enough to worry about. But, another potential concern for parents may be the type of laundry detergent used. While a time saver, laundry detergent pods are proving to be a growing hazard in homes with young children. 

What are laundry detergent pods?  
Also referred to as laundry packs or packets, they are products that contain liquid laundry soap, softener and other detergents enclosed in plastic discs. They may be tossed directly into the washing machine eliminating the need to pour or scoop laundry detergent. Introduced into the mainstream market in 2012, laundry detergent pods are offered by a variety of detergent manufacturers.

Why are laundry detergent pods dangerous?
Laundry detergent pods come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, which may be of interest to a very young child. They are soft, squishy and may resemble a large piece of candy or a shiny new toy. As most parents of toddlers know, something this appealing may go straight into their mouths for further exploration. As a result, concentrated chemicals can be inhaled or ingested.

The packets may cause severe injuries, such as burns inside the mouth, airway and to the skin. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in the first six months of 2015, poison-control centers nationwide received 6,046 reports of kids five and younger ingesting or inhaling pods, or coming into contact with pod contents on their skin or in their eyes.

How do you prevent detergent pod exposure?
One way to avoid exposure is to stop using detergent packets altogether. If they are to be used, laundry packets should be locked up and kept out of reach of children. Manufacturers of laundry pods are implementing ways of making the product safer through safety packaging, labeling and product design.

If your child is exposed to liquid detergent, by swallowing or though skin or eyes, call the poison control line at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. 

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