Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer

The danger of laundry pods to children

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When you have young children, the chore of laundry is seemingly never ending. Because of this, many parents have been thrilled at the advent of laundry detergent pods. The Wall Street Journal reported that between the years of 2012-2015, the sale of laundry pods increased by 150 percent. The problem is what is easy and convenient for parents, can also be convenient and dangerous for kids. There are several reasons why pods present a bigger danger than detergent stored in traditional bottles:

  • They look like candy - The bright colors and swirls on detergent pods provide a strong temptation for small children to play with and put in their mouths
  • They're the right size for little hands- The size, shape and texture of pods are fun to hold, and fit just right into a preschooler's hand.
  • They're designed for convenience- It is more obvious to store a large box or bottle of laundry soap up on a high shelf than it is in the case of pods. The small size may encourage parents to get creative, and they might keep them in areas that are easier to reach or even in a laundry hamper with the clothes.

    Typical Injuries from Laundry Pods

    Ingesting detergent from a laundry pod presents some threat to young children, but perhaps the bigger danger is to their eyes. While a young child is playing with a pod, the detergent can leak out and squirt into their eyes, causing chemical burns. The incidence of laundry pods causing eye injury is relatively recent. When the cause of chemical burns was determined in 3-4 year olds who visited the ER in 2012, the number was 12. In 2013 it jumped to 262 and was up again in 2015 to 480.

    Reacting to and Preventing an Injury

    How parents react to their child being injured is very important. While calling 911 right away seems like an obvious reaction, when physicians were questioned, they stressed that prompt treatment was most important, especially with chemical burns. The child's eye needs to be flushed out for 20 minutes in order to limit the damage. It is the first course of action of paramedics, parents or other caretakers can provide an important head start. Once at the hospital they might receive drops or ointment, and in severe cases, they will need surgery.

    If your child was injured by laundry pods, it is possible that the manufacturer should have done more to assure their safety. Consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney will help you determine whether you have a case.

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