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Parents Warned About Dangers Of Laundry Pods

January 31, 2013, 9:57 PM by Hailey Higgins

Parents Warned About Dangers Of Laundry Pods

Colorful laundry detergent pods are poisoning an increasing number children in the United States, including several dozen in KELOLAND.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns doctors to be on the lookout for severe symptoms because young kids are mistaking the pods for candy.

Liz Galloway admits her daughters, two-year-old Annika and 7-month-old Ellie, can be a handful at times.

"As a parent, it's kind of your daily battle to try to keep your kids from getting into things that they shouldn't or causing injury with things," Liz said.

But the stay-at-home mom says she's vigilant about making sure they don't play around with things like concentrated laundry pods.

"There are, kind of, colors on it," Annika said.

When shown a jar of the packets, her two-year-old said she thought it was something she could eat.

"Food," Annika said, "Looks like it.”

During our interview, her youngest couldn't resist putting her mouth on the jar.

"She just started learning how to eat," Liz said.

In 2012, 37 children were treated for detergent pod exposures in South Dakota, according to Hennepin Regional Poison Center. Nationally, there were more than 6,250.

Sanford Poison Center's Amy Marsh says children who eat the laundry pods often require hospitalization.

"With these laundry pods, what we're seeing is that the kids are becoming extremely sick," Marsh said. "Severe vomiting, even breathing difficulties where children have to be put on ventilation."

Marsh says the medical community is taking notice of laundry pod exposures because of the severity of the poison symptoms.

Typically, swallowing laundry detergent causes mild stomach upset or no symptoms at all. Poison center experts say the new laundry pods seem to be different because of the highly concentrated liquid laundry detergent. Experts say having laundry pods around children isn't only dangerous because of the high concentration, but also the pressure packed inside the pods.

"Kids think it's candy. They bite into them and they think that high pressure, when you squish them is what's shooting down the back of their throat and causing respiratory problems and they are aspirating into the lungs," Marsh said.

Marsh also says the highly concentrated product has been known to cause severe damage when it comes in contact with eyes.

And while Marsh doesn't want laundry pod lovers to throw them out, she says it's important to keep the pods locked up or on a high shelf out of the reach of children.

And that is exactly what Liz Galloway does with other hazardous products in her home.

"We're just starting to crawl all over and get into all sorts of trouble and even the older kids too. You have to watch them because they don't know what something is or something looks exciting," Galloway said.

The CDC says Proctor and Gamble, which is the largest manufacturer of detergent pods in the U.S., added double latch lids on some products and is collaborating with poison centers to collect data and identify risks associated with laundry detergent pod exposure. However, Marsh says there are not any current plans to take the popular product off the shelves.

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