Popular laundry detergent pods have been the subject of many warnings regarding small children and safety because the brightly colored and small packets resemble candy and are easy to ingest.
For more than a year, detergent pods have been under fire for their risk to tiny hands, and a Florida baby has died after ingesting one of them. Back in October, the CDC warned that “children might be attracted to the pods because their colorful appearance and size are similar to candy.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kissimmee infant Michael Williams died after eating one of the detergent pods in a women’s shelter in Florida. Williams was coughing but breathing and alert when help arrived — and his mother explained that shelter staff had passed out the detergent pods, leading her to store them in a basket on the bed.
The Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed Michael Williams died after he ingested the laundry pod, and DCF spokeswoman Terri Durdaller said in an email:
“The death of little Michael is a tragedy… It reminds all of us as parents the dangers of leaving household cleaning supplies around our little ones.”
Tampa Poison Control Center nurse JoAnn Chambers-Emerson told the Sentinel that the detergent pods poisoning issue was more serious than even regular laundry detergent poisoning, presenting new issues with poison control:
“It was a big surprise because we thought we knew everything about laundry detergent and how it acts in the body… The kids not only have vomiting, but it seems to be prolonged vomiting, coughing, difficulty breathing and drowsiness; so much so, that doctors were afraid children would aspirate into their lungs.”
The paper indicates that detergent pods seem to be riskier due to the chemical that allows the packets to disintegrate in the wash and resultant esophageal swelling it can cause.