Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

17 min Average

Laundry Pod Poisonings are on the Increase

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child in the laundry room

For quite some time, pediatric providers have been counseling parents on the dangers of laundry detergent pods. Their bright colors attract young children who may put them in their mouths, pierce the outside and can then swallow or aspirate the highly concentrated liquid. A study published today in Pediatrics shows that our education alone is not enough. Researchers examined data from calls to poison control centers in both 2013 and 2014. During this time, calls for children who had potentially ingested laundry detergent pods increased by 17 percent. Known symptoms related to ingestion are vomiting, breathing difficulties, and sleepiness. Severe cases may lead to coma, respiratory or cardiac arrest, and even death. 

As a mother of 3, I do not have these products in my home but instead use liquid laundry detergent. As a pediatrician, I would encourage all parents to do the same. Some of the cases of ingestion occurred outside of the primary home so it is important to ensure that all homes in which children spend time are safe (i.e., grandparent's, Babysitter's). 

 No matter what type of detergent you choose, make sure that the container is kept closed and stored out of the reach of children. If you are ever concerned that your child was exposed to a detergent pod or to any potential poison, contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222.