8 on Your Side: Children at Risk from Detergent Pods - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Children at Risk from Detergent Pods

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LAS VEGAS - Detergent pods are causing an increasing number of child poisonings in states around the country, including Nevada.

Colorful detergent pods are becoming increasingly popular. Many say they are much easier to use than detergent powders or gels to wash your dishes and clothes. These little packets, however, pack a poisonous punch for children.

Many kids mistake the pods for candy. Since the pods emerged on the market two years ago, thousands of cases of child poisonings have surfaced from kids putting the pods in their mouths. Other children have choked on the pods. A 7-month-old baby in Florida died after ingesting one.

The Centers for Disease Control says pods represent an emerging public health concern. Poison control centers say more than 9,500 children have been poisoned by pods since 2012.

In Nevada, 69 children have been poisoned by the pods so far this year. That compares with 15 in 2012. In every case, the children were under the age of three.

Many parents are thinking twice about purchasing the pods. Parent Jaja Anders previously used the pods exclusively. "This one, so easy, just open, take one, put it in. That's it," she said.

That was before her little bundle of joy arrived. "They're very curious about things, so whatever they grab, they just put in their mouth without even thinking," she said.

She banned the pods from her home, because even the most careful parent can drop something and not know it.

"It happens. I mean, no matter how careful you are with your baby, things could happen," she said.

She says if the pods weren't so colorful and reminiscent of candy, they wouldn't be so attractive to children.

In response to the poisonings, Proctor and Gamble – which makes the pods for Tide –launched new packaging. The packaging is no longer transparent, so kids can't see what's inside.

Many critics say the real change needs to be in the pods themselves. Consumers say if the colors were clear, toddlers wouldn't be attracted to them. 8 on Your Side asked Proctor and Gamble if the company would consider changing the pod coloring, but e-mails to Proctor and Gamble were not returned.

Since the pod poisoning death in Florida earlier this year, dozens of online petitions emerged that encourage makers of pods to change the bright colors to more neutral ones. Proctor and Gamble has yet to respond to the petitions.

In the meantime, many parents have stopped using the pods. Others, however, say they feel the pods are completely safe and any child poisonings are the result of neglectful parents.

If your child ingests a pod, call a poison control center right away. The number is (702) 732-4989.

If you have a problem you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.

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