In 2015 there was a 30-fold increase in the rate of corneal burns from laundry pods in children age 3-4. Over the 3 year period from 2012 to 2015, there were 480 children who suffered corneal burns from playing with laundry pods. This represented 26% of corneal chemical burns from all sources in that age group.
The detergent within laundry pods is highly concentrated as well as caustic. It is also pressurized and when punctured can easily squirt out of the water-soluble film that houses it. Laundry pods started to enter the market in large quantities and soon became popular due to their ease of use. Ingesting the liquid may cause injury and even death.
The brightly coloured packets and their soft texture are attractive to young children who may think they are toys. The eye injuries can also happen if the toddlers rub the detergent into their eyes after having broken the seal.
If your child suffers a chemical splash in the eye, the first step is to flush the affected eye(s) with water for a full 20 minutes. In the case of the laundry pods, the detergent is capable of penetrating into the eyeball with time the longer it is left on the surface. Immediate flushing with cool water is the best emergency remedy. Following this step, bring your child in to see one of our optometrists, or if unavailable proceed to your nearest emergency room.
Treating the laundry pods like any other dangerous chemical stored in the house is highly recommended. Keep them in an area that is out of reach of your young children and pets.
Some companies have already started to make the packaging in laundry pods more child-proof and less attractive to children