Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Detergent Pods Poisoning Children

Published on Nov 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm in Product Liability.

Despite warnings and packaging changes in 2013, thousands of children continue to be injured from ingesting laundry pods. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that more needs to be done to reduce the risk.

The tiny detergent pods were introduced in 2012. The small colorful pods quickly became a threat to children as they look like candies. The danger has been highest for one and two year-olds, who are at the age where they explore by putting everything into their mouths.

Poison control centers reported receiving more than 17,000 calls regarding laundry pod poisoning during 2012 and 2013. In about 80% of those cases, the child was exposed by ingesting the pod, and most were ages one and two. Half of those children were resolved over the phone with the child successfully treated at home, but this percentage is lower than the 85% rate for all poison control calls for children under six.

The types of more commonly reported injuries breakdown as follows:

  • Vomiting – 48%
  • Coughing or choking – 13%
  • Eye irritation or pain – 11%
  • Drowsiness or lethargy – 7%
  • Conjunctivitis – 7%

The more serious problems, experienced by less than 1% of children, were:

  • Coma – 30 children
  • Seizures – 12 children
  • Threw up blood – 11 children
  • Excess fluid in lungs – 6 children
  • Dangerously slow heartbeat – 5 children
  • Gastric burns – 2 children
  • Death – 2 children (one 7-month old infant’s death was confirmed due to a laundry pod; the second 16-month-old’s death is under review but suspected to be from laundry pod poisoning)

In more than three-fourths of all incidents, the children were treated by diluting or washing away the detergent. About 100 children were treated with breathing tubes.

How did the children get access to the pods? The study authors were able to find out in 904 cases and the results were as follows:

  • In 42% of the cases, the laundry pods were “stored within sight of the child or always left out.”
  • In 15% of the cases, the pods were “stored inappropriately” or kept in a “low unlocked kitchen or bathroom cabinet.”
  • In 11% of cases, children accessed the detergent from containers that were “temporarily” open and the caregivers were “momentarily distracted.”

In 2013, Procter & Gamble, which makes the most popular-selling pods, Tide Pods, changed its packaging to include a warning label, additional latches and used an opaque container so that children couldn’t see what was inside.

The authors of the study say that more needs to be done. They cautioned that families with small children should not use the pods at all. They recommended improvements to packaging standards to decrease the possibility of child exposure. The study also suggested that the ingredients in the detergent itself could be made less toxic. They used the example of fabric cleaner, which manufacturers were able to eliminate the use of benzene in and replace it with non-toxic compounds that didn’t reduce the effectiveness of the product.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

When to See a Neurologist After a Car Accident

Doctors who specialize in disorders and injuries affecting the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding muscles and nerves are referred to as neurologists. For those involved in a car accident, visiting a neurologist may not be something that is initially considered. But too many people ignore the signs that their accident caused nerve damage, a spinal […]

Read More

How Climate Change May Affect Our Roads, Highways, and the Frequency of Car Accidents

On October 7, 2021, the White House announced the release of Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from more than 20 federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Transportation. These Climate Adaptation Plans detailed the methods that each agency’s facilities and operations would adopt in order to become increasingly resilient […]

Read More

Examining the Rise of Active Duty Military Suicides

For the past two decades, the question has been asked more and more frequently by researchers and the general public alike. Why is the suicide rate so high in the military? The Department of Defense Annual Suicide Report released in September 2021 showed an increase of 41.4% in active duty service member deaths by suicide […]

Read More