Ocular Burns from Laundry Detergent Pods on the Rise in Preschoolers

February 2, 2017

Ocular Burns from Laundry Detergent Pods on the Rise in Preschoolers

  1. Katherine Bakes, MD

The incidence of ocular burns from laundry detergent pods in preschool-aged children increased 32-fold from 2012 to 2015.

  1. Katherine Bakes, MD

Exposure to laundry detergent pods is a poison danger for young children (NEJM JW Pediatr Adolesc Med Jan 2015 and Pediatrics 2014; 134:1127; NEJM JW Pediatr Adolesc Med Jun 2016 and Pediatrics 2016 May; 137:e20154529). Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers estimated the incidence of chemical ocular burns from laundry detergent pods in preschoolers (age 3–4 years) presenting to U.S. emergency departments.

From 2010 to 2015, a total of 1201 preschoolers had ocular burns from detergent pod exposures, 85% of which occurred at home. The number of these injuries increased from 12 in 2012 to 480 in 2015, accounting for 1% and 26% of all chemical ocular burns in this age group, respectively. In most cases, injury occurred when children held the pods and the liquid burst out into their eyes or leaked onto their hands, which then touched their eyes.

Comment

Now that we have documented the problem with laundry detergent pods, it is time to do something about it. The authors correctly call for better strategies to reduce accidental pediatric injuries: proper storage in the home, redesign of packaging to reduce the attractiveness to young children, and improved strength and durability of pods.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Katherine Bakes, MD at time of publication Grant / Research support Department of Justice Editorial boards Emergency Medicine Secrets (Elsevier); Rosen’s Emergency Medicine (Elsevier)

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