With their bright colours and small size, laundry pods can be attractive to children as they often look similar to confectionary products. If a child gains access to a laundry detergent capsule, it can lead to ingestion or eye and skin exposure causing serious injuries.
Nationally, there have been more than 280 incidents reported of children aged six or under ingesting or being exposed to liquid laundry detergent capsules since 2011.
Australian ingestion cases in children aged six or under
2011 (from April)
2015 (to February)
More than 16,000 cases are reported annually worldwide of children being exposed to laundry pods, with two deaths being reported in the United States.
Injuries can include:
in case of ingestion: severe vomiting, coughing, respiratory disorders, nausea, drowsiness and rash
in case of contact with the eyes: conjunctivitis, pain in the eye, eye irritation
in case of contact with the skin: rash, skin irritation, chemical burn.
A laundry detergent capsule can burst in a child’s hand with only a small amount of pressure. It can also rapidly dissolve with moisture and may burst in a child’s mouth in as little as ten seconds, causing severe injuries.