Generally, exposure was due to ingestion, with 4.4 percent hospitalized and 7.5 percent experiencing a moderate or major medical outcome.
A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, examined pediatric exposure to laundry detergent pods. The researchers used data from the National Poison Data System to identify cases of exposure to laundry detergent pods in children that were younger than the age of six. Using this data, the research group looked for key characteristics and outcomes from these incidents.
In total, there were 17,230 children younger than six years exposed to laundry detergent pods between March 2012 and December 2013. Just under 75 percent of cases involved children younger than three years of age. Generally, exposure was due to ingestion, with 4.4 percent hospitalized and 7.5 percent experiencing a moderate or major medical outcome. There was only one confirmed death.
According to ABC News, there are a number of causes of accidental ingestion. Reporters tell the story of Jessica Morin of Houston, TX, whose 9-month-old daughter was sickened after her grandmother mistook the detergent pod for a teething toy. Fortunately, Jessica realized what had happened and quickly called poison control. They instructed her to take her daughter to the emergency room immediately, where they found no serious damage and were able to discharge her that day.
Laundry detergent pods contain concentrated liquid laundry soap and became widely available in the U.S. two years ago. Some are multicolored and may look enticing to young children. Poisoning or injuries including mouth, throat and eye burns can occur when kids burst the capsules or put them in their mouths. Some manufacturers already have revised packaging and labels in efforts to make these safer for children.