What will they think of next? We humans forever want things that are more convenient and that save time, so that we can do…well…something else. Enter the laundry detergent pods. The laundry detergent pods were introduced in the U.S. in 2012. The idea is that the pods are pre-packaged, cutting down on measuring. But a new problem arose; one of the UC’s, or unintended consequences.
In 2012 and 2013, the U.S. Poison Control Centers, received more than 17,000 calls each year for kids who had been exposed to chemicals in laundry detergent pods. Over 700 kids were hospitalized and one died. All of these calls were kids 6 years and under, and a third of the calls were for kids between 1 and 2 years of age. About 80% of the kids had swallowed the liquid or even swallowed the pod. Half of the exposures were minor.
The most common side effects included vomiting, coughing and choking, eye irritation or pain and tiredness. The eye injuries involved corneal scratches. The serious effects included comas, seizures, and stomach burns. So, what to do? Well, some authorities recommend that these laundry pods be treated like any chemical, and thus keep them locked away from curious little hands. Other authorities recommend using the oldfashioned laundry soaps that have to be measured.
In any event, this is a good time to remind everyone with little explorers at home to check your surroundings often; yesterday no dangerous items may have been at a little arm’s reach, but today is a whole new adventure. Maybe an older brother has left his science project on the kitchen chair or maybe grandma accidentally dropped a pill. There’s no such thing as being too vigilant when it comes to a toddler! That poison control number is 1-800-222-1222. Have it written down near or programmed into every phone, and keep a sharp eye out…so your little one can think up the next latest and greatest invention! Give that kid hug.