How to Make Your Laundry Room Safe From The New Danger to Children

The pods are an all-in-one laundry dosing innovation. And, it comes in one simple fling.  

A Very Scary Story. Rated PG.

Once upon a time, not very long ago, in 2012, a new peril was born. It spread out across the earth.

It came to lurk in the homes of small children. The peril appeared, at first, as a shiny plaything or a delightful, tasty treat. 

The thing wasn't nice. It was a brightly-hued monster wearing a pretty disguise. The creature seemed innocent and sweet, until a child reached out to bite or squeeze the exciting new object.

Then the bad thing squirted poison into the children's eyes and mouths like a vicious viper spitting venom. It burned, choked and sickened the children. 

What was this new and deadly villain?

The peril, the creature, the new monster was........ a laundry detergent pod.

The peril appears bright, colorful, soft and squishy. To a toddler’s eye's it looks like candy or a toy. Seeing it on the floor, in a washing machine or on top of a table it becomes a child magnet. 

But this magnet is, also, attracting danger and becoming the brand new hazard for children. Since it's introduction in 2012, calls to the Poison Help Line have gone through the roof. There's been a huge increase in choking, eye injuries and poisoning. And, there's even been deaths. 

In a one second toss, I eliminated pouring and guessing the right amount of one to four products. It also made shopping for laundry solutions and powders so much simpler.”
— Mother of three children, ages 5, 3 and 6 months

So pretty and so efficient but, also, very dangerous to children

So pretty and so efficient but, also, very dangerous to children

Consumers are thrilled with the ease and speed of tossing a tiny combination pack of soap, softener, and fragrance into the washer. I know I am.

But, along with the new efficiency came a new problem. The hazard was described in a recent article in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, a greatly respected peer reviewed publication. You can read the article HERE.  

It described the large increase in chemical burns in eyes of pre-schoolers from detergent pods. The burns occurred, in the U. S., during a 3 year period, starting in 2012. That's when the pods hit the mainstream market. Other reports discussed different injuries - including poisoning and choking

What Makes "Washing Machine" Pods So Dangerous?

Detergent pods have a higher concentration of ingredients compared to, the traditional, or poured type. 

The pods, or packets, are made of a liquid detergent wrapped in a water-soluble casing. They have a higher concentration of ingredients compared to the traditional liquid or powder detergents.The concentration difference is what makes the pods more dangerous. A comparison study was reported by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, a part of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and the Central Ohio Poison Center.  It was published online in Pediatrics.

During the 2 year period studied, there were 62,254 total calls to Poison Control Centers across the U.S. The calls concerned both laundry and dishwasher detergents, and included both the pods and poured traditional formulations. All calls were for exposures to children under the age of 6. Sixty percent of all calls pertained to laundry, not dishwasher, pods. This amounts to more than 30 calls a day, or about one call every 45 minutes.

I think the reason the laundry pod danger is more pronounced compared to dishwasher-type pods is that the laundry pods are very colorful. They have various additives like fabric softener in them. The dishwasher pods are pale-colored or white. They are less attractive, to a child, than the bright laundry-type.
— Dad to 4 children, ages 6, 4 and one set of twins age 1.

One child a day, in the U.S., is admitted to a hospital for injuries caused by the laundry pods. The more serious cases of poisoning caused breathing difficulties, heart problems, and coma. Unfortunately, two children died as a result of exposure to the pods. You can read a summary of that study HERE

Laundry rooms are made for cleanliness but they can be a hazardous place for children

Laundry rooms are made for cleanliness but they can be a hazardous place for children

Steps Parents Can Take to Protect Children From Laundry Pods

Yes, pods are easy and time efficient, both for doing the wash and time shopping for laundry products. I love the newer products that include oxy and fabric scent boosters.

I use pods religiously. However, I have no young children at home. AND, my pods are always kept on a high shelf in case of surprise visits from little ones. I take precautions are taken if do laundry if those visitors are still around. 

The detergent manufacturers have responded to the problems and made packaging more child-proof. But, child safety experts recommend that families, with children under the age of 6, postpone using pods. At least until children are older. Instead, they should use the traditional poured laundry detergents and additives.  

The tiny packets contain highly concentrated versions of the detergent and additives.  Like other measures of child-proofing, postponing the use of pods is inconvenient. But it mitigates the risk. Safer, not sorrier. Use powder or liquid laundry products while young children are at home. It's an easy and safe alternative. And it can be more cost-effective. 

Follow These Detergent Safety Tips:

Subscribe below for a free, downloadable version of the chart

Subscribe below for a free, downloadable version of the chart



Keep the phone number for the national Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222 posted and handy near your home and cell phones.  Make sure all babysitters, family members and older children know where the number is posted. Make sure these same people are taught about poison control and use of the Help Line.  

Put the Poison Help Line number 1-800-222-1222 in your cell phone contacts and that of all family members.

For easy access, download this free chart with the phone number and information on the Poison Help Line. You can post this chart in your home next to your home phones and entered into your cell phone contacts. Subscribe BELOW for a free download of the large chart. You can also subscribe to receive the smaller chart too - useful for posting near phones or on refrigerators 

Subscribe below to receive a free download of the chart above. 

Subscribe below to receive a free download of the chart above. 

Subscribe below to also receive the small chart too!

Subscribe below to also receive the small chart too!

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What're your thoughts on detergent pods? Do you have other pod or laundry safety tips? Please add them in the Comment Section below. 

For more information on keeping your family healthy, read the article on toxic fish you should avoid eating HERE. Additional health info on whether mercury dental fillings in your mouth are safe can be found HERE. And one more topic, for those interested in nutrition and health, is about the biggest nutrition myths circulating on the web today - read that one HERE.

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