Researchers link increase in eye injuries among kids to laundry detergent pods

Baltimore – An increase in eye injuries among preschool-aged children has been tied to laundry detergent pods, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers examined data on eye injuries resulting in a chemical burn or pink eye in children ages 3 to 4 from 2010 to 2015. They found that 1,201 laundry pod-related eye burns occurred among the children, and that the total number of chemical burns associated with laundry pods rose to 480 in 2015 from 12 in 2012.

The dissolvable pods, which contain a single dose of laundry detergent, have colorful packaging that may resemble candy to children. Reports of child-related injuries from the pods include burns, choking and poisoning. Children most often experienced these injuries when pod contents sprayed into their eyes or they touched their eyes after coming in contact with the contents of a pod.

“These data suggest that the role of laundry detergent pods in eye injuries among preschool-aged children is growing,” the researchers wrote. “As with most injuries in this age group, these burns occurred almost exclusively in the home. In addition to proper storage and use of these devices, prevention strategies might include redesigning packaging to reduce the attractiveness of these products to young children and improving their strength and durability.”

The study was published online Feb. 2 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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