FORT MYERS, Fla. - Laundry detergent pods are a convenient way to do your laundry. No guesswork or measuring!
But as WINK News Call For Action and Consumer Reports have been reporting, these colorful pods can pose a danger to young children.
Poison control centers have received more than 9,500 reports of children five and under coming in contact with or ingesting pods since early 2012.
Dr. Darshan Patel at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital has seen the problem firsthand.
"Kids are naturally drawn to them. And when they get them, they're water-soluble. So as soon as they go into the mouth, they start to dissolve," said Dr. Patel.
Pods from Tide and Costco's Kirkland Signature are top performers in Consumer Reports' cleaning tests, but their candy-like packaging and easy access are a real concern.
"Procter and Gamble, maker of Tide Pods, told us they would help address the problem by phasing out this clear plastic container, hopefully by the end of year," said Dan DiClerico with Consumer Reports.
The new packaging is a container little ones can't see into.
But Procter and Gamble says it has no plans to phase out Tide's easy-open pouch you can see into, which the company says some consumers prefer.
"We're concerned these appealing pods may still find their way into small children's hands," DiClerico said.
Then there's Costco's Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs that come in clear containers. They look a lot like those used for snack food, and they're easy to open, too.
"Costco also told us they'll be introducing an opaque container in August, followed by a child deterrent lid, but not until early next year," DiClerico said.
"The bottom line here is it's really important to keep all detergent out of the reach of curious children."
If a small child ingests one of these pods, it can lead to excessive vomiting and has caused some victims to stop breathing. The pods can also cause serious eye injuries. If you suspect your child has come into contact with a detergent pod, call the Poison Control Hotline immediately at 1-800-222-1222.