Hundreds of kids harmed by detergent ‘pods:’ Study

In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, laundry detergent packets are held for a photo, in Chicago. Accidental poisonings from squishy laundry detergent packets sometimes mistaken for toys or candy landed more than 700 U.S. children in the hospital in just two years, researchers report. Coma and seizures were among the most serious complications. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Accidental poisonings from squishy laundry detergent packets sometimes mistaken for toys or candy landed more than 700 U.S. children in the hospital in just two years, researchers report. Coma and seizures were among the most serious complications.

The cases stem from the more than 17,000 poison center calls about the products received in the past two years. The calls involved children younger than 6 and most weren’t seriously harmed. But one child died last year and the potential risks highlight a need for even safer packaging, the researchers said.

Some manufacturers already have revised packaging and labels in efforts to make the detergent packets or “pods” safer for children. The study found calls dipped slightly after some of those changes were made.

The products 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.

In the study, 144 had eye injuries, 30 went into comas and 12 had seizures.

Exposure to household cleaning products is among the top reasons for calls to poison centers involving young children. In 2012, detergent packet calls accounted for a fraction — about 6 percent — of the 111,000 calls involving young children and cleaning products, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Many calls involve regular laundry detergent, which can cause mild stomach upsets, but poison center experts say the new concentrated laundry packets seem to cause more severe problems.

Jessica Morin of Houston says her 9-month-old daughter, Marlow, was sickened earlier this year when Jessica’s grandmother mistook a detergent pod for a teething toy and put it in the baby’s mouth.

“I called poison control and they said to take her to the ER immediately,” Morin said. Marlow was repeatedly vomiting and underwent tests, but doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital found no serious damage and she didn’t need to stay overnight.

“We were very lucky,” Morin said. “We don’t have those pods in our house anymore.”

The researchers examined 2012-13 data from the poison control centers group. Their study was published online Monday in Pediatrics.

Overall, there were 17,230 poison center calls about young kids getting into the packets, including 769 children who were hospitalized. Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead author, said his hospital had two recent cases — kids who developed breathing problems and required treatment in the intensive care unit. He’s director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The American Cleaning Institute, which represents makers of cleaning products, issued voluntary guidance in March encouraging manufacturers to use labels that prominently list safe handling information. The cleaning institute said it is also working with manufacturers to educate parents. But a survey the group released last week suggests many consumers still don’t know about the risks.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says children should not be allowed to handle the packets and advises parents to store them out of children’s sight and reach.

___

Online:

American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org

American Association of Poison Control Centers: http://aapcc.org

___
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s