Laundry capsules

Laundry capsules (also known as laundry pods) can be dangerous for children if left within their reach. Make sure you store laundry pods safely.

About laundry capsules

Laundry detergent liquid capsules/pods contain concentrated detergent for single use. The detergent is protected by a membrane and released once it comes in contact with water during washing. With their bright colours and small size, laundry pods can be attractive to children as they often look similar to confectionary products.

Risks and injuries

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.

Injuries can include:

  • severe vomiting, coughing, respiratory disorders, nausea, drowsiness and rash, if ingested
  • conjunctivitis, pain in the eye, or eye irritation
  • skin irritation or chemical burn.

Nationally, there have been more than 280 incidents reported of children aged six or under ingesting or being exposed to liquid laundry detergent capsules between April 2011 and February 2015.

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.

Safe use

  • Carefully read the labels on the packaging.
  • Don’t use the capsules/pods while children are close by and don’t allow or invite children to handle  them.
  • Never pierce or break laundry capsules/pods.
  • Keep capsules/pods in their original container, closing the container lid properly after every use.
  • Store laundry capsules up high, out of reach and sight of children.
  • If stored in lower accessible cabinets/cupboards, these should be secured with child resistant locks.

What to do in case of exposure

  • If the capsule/pod is put in the mouth, rinse the child's mouth and face thoroughly. Do not induce vomiting.
  • If a child has the capsule liquid close to eyes or on hands, rinse carefully with plenty of water.
  • Call a doctor or the Poison Control Centre on 13 11 26, or go to a medical emergency department.

More information

Laundry detergent capsules - Safety poster

Laundry detergent capsules - Safety alert infographic

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