August 04, 2016
1 min read

Young children at greater risk for detergent pod poisonings

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

More vigilance and caution may be required with laundry detergent pod use, particularly in homes with young children who are at an increased risk for injury from pods, according to study findings.

“While these items are popular, the potential hazard associated with the pods was noted when in 2012 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission saw an increase in poisonings among younger children,” Thomas A. Swain, MD, researcher in the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues wrote. “In 2015, a product safety group went as far as not recommending the use of laundry detergent pods in homes with children under 6 years.

“To date, most of the available information regarding pod laundry detergent medical visits is from case reports and case series, many of which involve patients less than 2 years who ingested pods, required intubation and were admitted.”

To determine the difference of severity and frequency between pod and nonpod laundry detergent injuries and visits to the ED in the pediatric population, Swain and colleagues pooled data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (2012-2014) that reported injuries involving laundry detergent. The researchers found 26,062 nonpod exposures and 9,814 pod detergent exposures among children during the observational period.

Children aged 0 to 5 years experienced the most pod detergent-related injuries and accounted for the most ED visits (93.8%). In pod related exposures, 71.3% of children experienced poisoning, and 72.2% of nonpod related exposure ED patients were diagnosed with contact dermatitis (P < .001). Ocular damage occurred more frequently in patients with pod exposure (24.7%) vs. nonpod exposure (15%; P < .001). There was a significant increase in hospitalizations in pod-related cases (12.5%) vs. nonpod related cases (3%) that remained when adjusted for age (OR = 4.02; 95% CI, 1.96-8.24).

“Future study into pod laundry detergent needs to ensure a comparison is made to nonpod laundry detergent in order to ensure that an estimate of risk can be assessed,” Swain and colleagues wrote. “Furthermore, future study would be improved if the location of the detergent when it was accessed, chemical description of detergent, length of hospital stay, detailed diagnosis and listing of hospital procedures were recorded.” – by Kate Sherrer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.