Laundry Detergent Pods Pose Poisoning Risk for Young Children

by Eric Pearson

Thousands of young children and infants in the U.S. are poisoned each year after accidentally ingesting laundry detergent pods. Experts say that the brightly colored pods are more dangerous than other types of laundry detergent because they can be mistaken for candy by children, making them think it is okay to put the packets in their mouth.

The health consequences for children who are accidentally poisoned by these laundry detergent pods can be severe. A 17 month old Philadelphia boy was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator after he placed a detergent packet in his mouth and started vomiting. In Florida, a 7 month old boy in Florida died after eating one of the laundry pods.

Health Experts Warn of Poisoning Risk from Laundry Detergent Pods

According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, more than 17,000 children were accidentally poisoned by laundry detergent pods over a period of about one year—a rate of more than one child per hour.

Of these cases, 4.4% of the children were hospitalized and 7.5% experienced moderate or major side effects, which can include respiratory distress, vomiting, seizures, and death. Nearly every one of these cases of poisoning was unintentional, meaning that children ate the laundry detergent pods without realizing what they were.

Studies have also found that children may be at risk of suffering vision damage if the liquid inside the detergent pods is squirted into the eyes from a broken packet. Children whose eyes are directly exposed to the liquid detergent inside these laundry pods may experience severe eye irritation and temporary loss of vision.

Younger children are at an especially high risk of poisoning from laundry detergent pods. According to the CDC, the average age of children who were poisoned by laundry pods was 3, compared with an average age of 7 for all laundry detergent poisonings. Health experts have advised parents to keep laundry detergent pods out of the reach of small children in order to limit the risk that they may accidentally ingest the packets.

The number of poisoning cases caused by these detergent packets has risen sharply in recent years even as cases of household poisoning among children have continued to decline. Safety experts have called for new national safety standards to reduce the risk of poisoning from laundry detergent pods, including stronger packaging labels warning parents about their health risk to children and childproof packaging to prevent kids from opening the lid on detergent containers.

Child Hurt by Dangerous Products? Our Law Firm Can Help.

If your child has suffered a serious injury because of exposure to household cleaners or other dangerous consumer products, you need an attorney with the experience and resources to take the case to trial. The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the legal knowledge and trial expertise to pursue a personal injury or product liability claim against any company whose products cause serious injury or death of a child or infant.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are proud of our work on behalf children who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of others. These cases have included a $36 million jury verdict for a child who suffered brain damage and other serious injuries in a bus crash, a $6.7 million verdict for medical errors by a hospital that caused permanent brain damage to an 8-year-old child, and a $2.2 million jury verdict in a lawsuit involving a newborn who suffered moderate brain damage after being improperly discharged from the hospital with low glucose levels.

If your child has suffered a serious personal injury or death, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free contact form and one of our staff members will be in touch with you as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.