The number of eye injuries linked to liquid laundry packets is skyrocketing. Toddlers and young children are popping the packets and getting the detergent in their eyes leading to an increased number of serious chemical burns.
Researchers at johns hopkins bloomberg school of Public Health looked at reports of such eye injuries. “The number of eye injuries among small children aged 3 to 4 due to these laundry detergent pods increased significantly said Dr. R. Sterling Haring, from almost none… to almost 500 per year.”
Children can injure themselves when the packets break and the contents squirt into one or both eyes, or when the contents leak onto the children’s hands and they rub their eyes. Most of these burns happened in the home, where kids are playing with the brightly colored packets, “wondering if they’re toys, if they’re candy,” said the lead researcher, Dr. R. Sterling Haring of johns hopkins university. They’re neither.”
The single use laundry packets have higher concentrations of chemicals and cleaning agents and can lead to vision loss if they get into the eye. If this happens, doctors say immediately get the eye under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. “The longer you can run water on that eye, the more likely you are to save that child’s vision”, said Dr. Haring. He says “Don’t stop and take them to the hospital. Don’t call and wait for an ambulance to show up. Flush the eye with cool water before you do anything else.” After flushing the eye, the next step would be to take the child to the emergency room he says.
The American Cleaning Institute issued a statement that reads in part: “Manufacturers of liquid laundry detergent packets are very committed to reducing the number of incidents with these products, which are used safely by millions of consumers every day.”
There is also the risk of children swallowing the detergent pods. Health experts strongly advise parents to store the detergent packets up away and out of sight.