What is the allure of the laundry pod? Is pouring a few tablespoons of laundry detergent into its cap (which amazingly doubles as a convenient measuring cup) and tossing it into the washer a task so daunting that someone needed to figure out a way to streamline it? Innovation is great and all, but laundry pods are dangerous as hell for small children. Parents – maybe it’s time to consider not buying them.
Look at these statistics: 32,000 calls to poison control centers since 2012 because of kids putting the pods in their mouths. At least 30 children a day require medical attention due to an ingested pod. One child a day is requiring actual hospitalization. The pods look like candy, if you haven’t noticed. They’re brightly colored, shiny, and have a texture that kids almost can’t resist biting into.
Kate Carr, the President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide told Today Health, “Young children are explorers and they like to put everything in their mouths and so liquid laundry packets which dissolve in water can either dissolve on wet fingers or dissolve when they are put into the mouth. When that happens, there can be some serious consequences for young children.”
Manufacturers have made changes to the formerly opaque packaging so that the laundry pods are not visible from the outside. They’ve also improved warning labels to advise about proper usage and storage. Doesn’t seem to be enough since there are still so many incidents of children ingesting these things.
Obviously there are plenty of dangerous substances in the home that need to be kept locked away out of reach of children. Not all of them look like delicious candy, though. Curious children get into things. As parents we don’t always know exactly how high they can reach, what new things are drawing their attention, etc. These pods have been alarming child safety organizations since they appeared on the market. Yes, they’re convenient. But maybe just hold off on that convenience until your kids are old enough to understand the dangers of handling them.
“There were 32,000 calls to the poison help line for kids 5 and under, but the greatest risk is for kids who are 1- and 2-years-old,” Carr said.
You may be thinking, “I’m not an idiot! I know how to properly store poisonous chemicals in my house!” That’s super. But the point of these awareness campaigns is to get the word out. Not all parents are hip to the unique dangers these pods pose. Even if this news doesn’t affect you – spread the word. If it were so easy to keep these things away from little hands, the statistics regarding how many children have been hurt by them wouldn’t be so alarming.
By the way, my toddler just climbed into my lap as I was looking through stock images of the pods. She pointed to my computer screen and said, “Mmm. I want that!”
If you think your child may have gotten into or swallowed a laundry pod (or any other detergent, cleaner or medicine), call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 right away.