Consumer Reports recently pulled their previous endorsement for laundry detergent pods in light of the potential poisoning hazard for young children. Just to be clear, this is only the laundry pods that contain the highly concentrated liquid detergent, not pods containing powdered detergent. Although these laundry pods are quickly accessed, pre-measured, use less packaging, and are just simple to use, they ultimately are not worth the lives of children. Ariana Eunjung Cha of The Washington Post recently highlighted this excerpt from Consumer Reports:
‘When curious kids find their way into regular liquid laundry detergent, the result is often nothing worse than an upset stomach. Laundry detergent pods are presenting more serious symptoms. Along with vomiting, lethargy, and delirium, some victims have stopped breathing.’
Additionally, two children have died from ingesting a concentrated laundry detergent from a pod. Cha also noted “Last year, 11,714 reports of incidents involving kids aged 5 and younger and laundry detergent pods were reported to poison control centers nationwide. In the first six months of this year, there were more than 6,000.” This is a truly alarming fact that the numbers continue to rise. The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles posted this list on their blog:
Helpful Tips for Safety at Home
Tip 1: Cleaning materials should always be stored out of the reach of children and pets.
Tip 2: Install child-proof latches on under-sink cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom. Even if cleaning materials are no longer stored there, chemical smells may linger and could be dangerous to a child if they play under sinks.
Tip 3: Store laundry products on high shelves because many detergents can cause rashes or itching on a child’s sensitive skin.
Tip 4: Never leave a bottle or container of cleaning supplies open and unattended. Always close and put away the cleaning supplies if you are interrupted. You do not want any temptation sitting around that may harm your child.
Tip 5: When cleaning, take only the proper amount you need from the container, seal the container back up, and store the container away immediately. Use the proper equipment for handling the cleaning supply material, as recommended on the label. If the label says “Wear protective gear, gloves, or goggles,” do so to reduce harm to yourself and family.
Tip 6: When you are done cleaning, properly dispose of paper towels and rags that have come in contact with the cleaning chemicals.
Tip 7: Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers. Many cleaning products and chemicals have instructions on what to do if the product is used incorrectly, resulting in an emergency. Create and keep a first-aid kit that includes emergency-wash liquids. In the first-aid kid, keep a list of telephone numbers for:
- National Poison Control, 1-800-222-1222
- The nearest hospital
- A local ambulance service
- Your family doctor
The American Cleaning Institute urges consumers to “Pledge Now to be the KEY to a safe laundry room and routine!” Click here to take the pledge and for helpful tips for keeping your family safe.
Remember, treat all household cleaning items with care and always err on the side of caution. Look at the product you are purchasing and be aware of potential dangers. Review the warning labels and store in secured areas per label instructions. Always keep in mind: manufacturers use a product label to draw our attention to their product and this, however unintended, applies to children as well! Be diligent in keeping children safe. Personal convenience will never be more important than the life of a child.