Health: New Warning About Laundry Detergent Pods And Kids

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is a new warning about those popular laundry detergent pods, which can pose dangers to children.

They’re colorful little packets of laundry detergent: convenient, easy-to-use, but also enticing for children.

Dr. Evan Weiner, an emergency physician with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, says, “They’re definitely colorful. I can see why a child would want to eat it. Almost looks like a marshmallow…There are some reports of kids ending up in the ICU because of these.”

A newly released study in the journal Pediatrics says the detergent packs are a serious risk to young children. Injuries from the detergent packs increased 645% a month when they were first introduced in early 2012, although that’s decreased some over a one year period.

Dr. Weiner says the packets can cause symptoms “such as nausea or vomiting, and then there are the more rare but more serious symptoms like altered mental status, comatose state, or respiratory depression, where they’re not breathing and may require being put on a ventilator.”

That’s what happened to one-year-old Alex Rohde. He was hospitalized on a respirator after swallowing a detergent pod last year.

The new study calls for a bigger effort to prevent exposure, which could include improving product packaging and labeling. Dr. Weiner says parents also need to take precaution, “so you have to treat it just like your bleach and other cleaning products that you may put away, keep away from children.”

We got no reaction from Proctor and Gamble, the maker of Tide Pods, but last year, they introduced more child-friendly packaging and are offering free safety latches to parents.

The new research, by the way, didn’t look into dish-washer packets.

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