Detergent dangers

Posted at 8:25 AM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 08:25:43-04

(NBC NEWSCHANNEL) Many parents view detergent packets as a convenient way to do laundry but young kids often see detergent pods as bright and colorful toys.

"They put them in their mouth and as soon as they pop that container, it squirts into the back of their throat and the game is over,” said Dr. Gary Smith with Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Ingesting the chemicals can cause severe burns, lung damage. And that's not all.

“We've seen coma, we've seen seizures, we even had two deaths due to exposure to these laundry detergent packets over the last two years,” Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith and colleagues at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus say poison control centers took more than 62,000 calls about kids eating detergent pods between 2013 and 2014 alone.

It's not just laundry detergents that are a concern. More and more children are getting their hands on dishwasher packets.

Manufacturers are strongly urging parents to keep these products out of the reach of children.

While there is danger in ingesting all detergents, liquid laundry packets were associated with the most severe injuries in children.

Some manufacturers have adopted voluntary safety standards, adding warning labels and changing to opaque packaging.

Safety experts encourage parents to use more conventional methods until their kids are a little older.

This study is from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and is published in the journal, "Pediatrics."