Laundry Detergent Pods & Keeping Kids Safe: What Every Parent Should Know

laundry podsRemember the two-year-old who was rushed to the hospital and put on a ventilator after swallowing one of those single-use laundry detergent pods -- which he mistook for a piece of candy? It happens all too often, and sometimes it's fatal. A seven-month-old baby died after eating a laundry pod. His mother had set down a container of the pods in a laundry basket on the same bed where her son was sleeping and left the room just for a few minutes. But by the time she came back he had already eaten one and was eating another. He died later in the hospital.

So far in 2013 there have been 5,000 incidents of children eating laundry pods. This is the first death. But every time I turn around, another laundry detergent maker has introduced another line of those pods. Here are some new laundry safety tips every parent should be aware of.


1. Keep all laundry detergent, pods or not, far out of reach of children at all times. They shouldn't even be able to climb up to where you keep them. Don't allow small children to help with the laundry by using the pods.

2. If you use pods, keep them in an opaque container so children can't even see them. The clear containers they often come in look like candy containers, and can help lure children.

3. Some manufacturers are selling pods in opaque containers -- yay! Always use this container for the pods, and only the pods. Always return it to its place with the lid firmly closed after use.

4. Avoid leaving children alone anywhere near laundry facilities or even just the detergent.

5. Keep the phone number for your local poison control center handy. You can look up that number on the American Association of Poison Control Centers Website.

6. If somehow your child does ingest any part of a laundry pod, try to get them to drink a glass of milk while you call your local poison control center, or 800-222-1222, or your doctor immediately. Do NOT induce vomiting.

7. If your child gets detergent on their hands, rinse thoroughly immediately.

Last year concerned parents posted a petition for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the safety of laundry detergent pods. Alas, it only got 17 signatures. But with 5,000 new incidents and now this death, I'm wondering if it's time to revive that petition. In March the U.S. CPSC sent a warning to parents about using laundry pods.

Do you use laundry detergent pods?


Image via US CSPS/Flickr


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