Who Would Think That Laundry Detergent Could Be Dangerous?

A good friend recently faced a scare that every parent and grandparent dreads. He and his wife had to rush their 4-year old son to the local Emergency Room. His eyeball was burned by a seemingly harmless household product — the small, bright little packets called “pods” that contain concentrated laundry detergent. To children, pods look like toys or candy. Children squeeze them, even bite them. Too often, the pods burst open shooting toxic detergent into a child’s mouth, nose or eyes.

Laundry Pods Really Hurt Kids

Laundry pods pose an unreasonable danger to children. Google “laundry detergent pods.” You will find dozens of articles describing the dangers. On average, pods send one child to the hospital every day in the United States. Two medical journals have published articles about how laundry pods have already hurt thousands of children. The journal Pediatrics found that 17,230 kids under the age of 6 were poisoned by pods between March, 2012 and April, 2013. So, laundry pods poisoned more than one child every hour of every day for 13 months. The concentrated detergent inside the pods is more dangerous than exposure to traditional detergent. Children exposed to the concentrated detergent in pods have suffered chemical burns, violent vomiting and have even stopped breathing. The Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus reported that pods have burned children’s eyeballs and caused permanent vision loss.

Don’t Blame The Parents

Parents would have no reason to suspect that these colorful little pods might burn a child’s skin, stop his breathing or cause blindness. Traditional liquid and powder detergents don’t pose that threat. Plus, there is nothing on the packaging to warn parents that laundry pods are dangerous. Detergent manufacturers already know their pods are dangerous. Blaming parents is not going to make these pods any safer or keep children out of harm’s way.

Warn Or Stop Selling

Detergent manufacturers are the key to solving this safety problem. Manufacturers could place a warning on every package telling people to keep the pods away from children. They could put the “Mr. Yuk” label on the carton so small children might see that pods are dangerous. Manufacturers could change the way pods look so that kids don’t mistake the toxic detergent for toys or candy. Fewer children would be tempted to squeeze or bite them. Sen. Dick Durbin is calling for safety standards to address the dangers of laundry pods. If soap companies really wanted to do the right thing, they would pull their laundry pods off store shelves. They could still sell liquid and powder laundry detergent. Consumers would still wash their clothes. Soap companies would still make a profit.

Nobody Should Have To Rely On Luck To Keep Their Kids Safe

My friend’s son is lucky. He could not open his eye for 3 days after the concentrated detergent burned his eyeball. The little boy saw specialists and underwent a regimen of painful eye drops. The drops sting and made him cry every time. Fortunately, the boy’s burn is going to heal and he has his vision back. But parents and grandparents should not have to rely on luck to keep their little ones safe from this hazard. Soap companies should stop selling laundry pods unless or until they are safe.

Child Safety Is Important

If you know about an important child safety issue that needs attention, send me an email at sean@seanburkelaw.com. If you would like to learn more about how to protect yourself and your family, visit our website at www.seanburkelaw.com.

Thanks for reading.