Healthwatch: Kids Eating Laundry Pods

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WILKES-BARRE --  A new laundry product is being mistaken for candy and putting kids in the hospital across the country. According to Geisinger Health System, there have been at least six cases of kids in our area eating Tide Pods, or something similar, since the start of the year.

These days, when shopping for laundry detergent at places such as Shiel's Family Market in Wilkes-Barre, there are a lot of options: liquids, pens, and now pods.

Labels on these Tide Pods claim they're the most powerful laundry pacs around. However, some doctors say colorful pods like these are not so safe for kids.

"Kids think they look very appealing to eat, and so we've had problems with them ingesting them," said Dr. Todd Holmes, the assistant director for the emergency room at Geisinger Wyoming Valley.

Dr. Todd Holmes is the assistant director for the emergency room at Geisinger Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre. He says a couple cases of kids eating laundry detergent pods have come in over the past few weeks.

"So the big problem is not so much that they swallow it. It's a viscous, oily liquid. They can inhale it, and that chemical damages the lining of the lungs and can cause breathing problems," said Dr. Holmes.

Parents say they can understand why kids would be attracted to these tide pods. After all, they're colorful, they smell good, and they're squishy like play-doh. Not to mention, kids are pretty curious from a young age.

Take Trisha Gribble's three-year-old daughter, Kendall. We found them shopping at Schiel's Family Market .

"She's going through my cupboards. I had to buy locks for them. We have locks on all of our cupboards. She's curious," said Gribble.

That curiosity is why Gribble says she won't buy the laundry pods.

"It definitely looks like a piece of candy. The colors," said Gribble.

Dr. Holmes says most children treated for laundry pod ingestion are released from the hospital within a few hours. But he says these squishy little pods can be deadly, so it's important to read the labels and keep them away from children.