Laundry Gel Packs Pose Serious Threat to Children, Doctors Warn

Laundry gel packs or pods are small, squishy, and brightly colored, making them look and feel a lot like candy. But a new report warns that children who bite into these concentrated detergent capsules can become seriously ill. WebMD has details:

A bite into the packs can cause drooling and vomiting and may burn the mouth, throat, eyes, and lungs.

“Certainly, the children we’ve seen have had pretty severe injuries from chemical contact with the soaps,” says Lyndsay Fraser, MD. Fraser is an ear, nose, and throat doctor at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland.

In the new report, Fraser and her colleagues describe the cases of five children treated in the emergency room after biting into laundry detergent capsules.

All the children were younger than age 2. The oldest was released after treatment with steroids and antibiotics. The others needed breathing tubes to prop open their swollen and damaged airways. One needed surgery. All eventually recovered.

The report is published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The National Association of Poison Control Centers (NAPCC) says this is an increasingly common problem in the United States; there are almost 3,000 reports so far this year of children ingesting laundry packs, WebMD reports. The NAPCC issued an alert about this problem in May, prompting Tide to change the design of its Pods container so that it’s harder for kids to open.

If you find your child with a gel pack in his mouth, poison experts recommend that you call poison control at 800-222-1222.


Image: Laundry gel capsules via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Theresa Trompk

    On September 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I wouldn’t doubt it a for a second that those gel packs pose seroius threat to children. That is why I shop with a green company that makes everything, and I mean everything 100% natural WITHOUT any harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients and the products this store makes are delivered to my door. I will never buy cleaning products from the grocery stores or walmart ever again. IF you want to learn more about the store that I found that I love and that will save you a lot of money, go to to request more information. One of our highly trained executives will explain how you can go green and possibly make some green on the side if you want.

  2. by Randi

    On September 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Hete is an idea…put them where the child can’t reach them! In a cabinet above the washer or in a locked cabinet under the sink. You lock away your cleaning supplies, so why not do the same to laundry detergent (of any kind)?