Poison Center Warns About Laundry Detergent Pods

by: Robin Taylor Updated:

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PITTSBURGH —

They're bright and colorful and to young kids, they look like candy, but the powerful detergent packs could put their lives in danger. Target 11 Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor discovered at least 10 children in Pittsburgh have gotten sick after eating them.

They really do look like giant gumballs and that's a real problem.

Nationwide, more than 200 children have gotten sick after trying to eat the concentrated packets, leading poison control centers to issue a warning.

We showed Tide pods to parents and children to find out what they think.

"It does kind of look like candy in a way, doesn't it?" said Rob Reid.

"They look like something to play with. They're colorful. She would probably eat it," said Liz Shepler, while holding her baby daughter, who is almost 1.

Six-year-old Maia Miller proved our point.

"That looks like a lollypop a little bit," said Miller, who is in kindergarten.

When children bite into the concentrated packs, they get a nasty mouthful of liquid detergent that if swallowed usually leads to vomiting. But experts said they can also be so startled that they breathe the detergent into their lungs, causing real damage.

"There have been a few cases now where children have had to go on ventilators because of the effects this has caused," said Edward Krenzelok, the director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

Within 10 minutes, toddlers can get so sick they have to be hospitalized, which is different from other detergents that usually cause mild tummy aches.

The poison center is urging parents to put the single-use packs where children can't reach them and to call immediately if a child gets into them.

"In many cases the only thing you need is a glass of milk for the child and some reassurance for the parent," said Krenzelokep.

If you have small children, I recommend you stick with traditional powder or liquid detergent to avoid the risk.

Proctor & Gamble just announced they will redesign the packaging to make the jars harder to get into, so children will be less likely to eat the colorful packets.