Parents beware! Paediatric poisoning through exposure to laundry detergent capsules (LDCs)

Convenient? Yes! Effortless? Yes!

But these packets of single-use concentrated liquid detergents are finding themselves in the hands of children far too often. Their colourful, squishy candy appearance, with pockets of ‘fruit juice’ in them, is clearly far too enticing for curious kids.

Pick the lollies, pick the LDC capsules

Pick the lollies, pick the LDC capsules

From the 1st January to the 31st of June 2015, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) recorded 7,184 cases of children 5 years and younger exposed to LDCs. An LDC is the most commonly ingested household product, accounting for 70% of all ingested detergents.

If your child swallows traditional laundry powder, he or she is likely to suffer mild stomach upset. However, if your child ingests a concentrated LDC, symptoms are far worse and include excessive vomiting, coughing, chocking or wheezing; and in some cases, hospitalisation. Records have shown cases where children playing with LDCs have pierced the membrane casing, causing the contents to spray into their eyes, resulting in severe eye irritation. So parents, please remove LDCs from the hands of your children.

How to prevent LDC poisoning:

  • Step 1: If possible, substitute your LDCs with traditional laundry powder.
  • Step 2: If they can’t be substituted, seal the lid and lock your LDCs in a secondary retention. Store them on a secure shelf, out of reach of children.
  • Step 3: Ensure the secure shelf is in a dry, cool and well-ventilated place. This location should be stationary at all times. Storing on a vibrating washing machine is not recommended as the LDCs could dislodge and fall onto the ground (depicted below).
  • Step 4: If possible, educate your children on the dangers of LDCs.

First Aid Measures if your child is exposed to LDCs:

  • IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes and if eye irritation persists, seek medical attention.
  • IF SWALLOWED: Immediately drink 1 or 2 glasses of water. If they feel unwell, call a poison centre or medical physician.
  • IF ON SKIN: Rinse with plenty of water and if skin irritation occurs, seek medical attention.



American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). (2015). Alerts: Laundry detergent packets. Retrieved from

Bonney, A. G., Mazor, S., & Goldman, R. D. (2013). Laundry detergent capsules and pediatric poisoning. Canadian Family Physician, 59(12), 1295–1296.

Donnelly, L. (2014, Nov 10). Parents warned over laundry capsule poisoning risks. The Telegram. Retrieved from

Fraser, L., Wynne, D., Clement W. A., Davidson, M., & Kubba, H. (2012). Liquid detergent capsule ingestion in children: An increasing trend. Arch Dis Child, 97(11), 1007. Retrieved from

Procter & Gamble. (2015). Safety data sheet: Tide pods – original. Retrieved from

The problem with laundry detergent pods. (2015, Jul 16). Consumer Reports Magazine. Retrieved from


  1. We need to be aware how these things appear through the eyes of a child. The more blogs like this the better. Parents often don’t have time to read lengthy information either. Great!

  2. Hi

    With a young one that is just starting to walk and explore, I had not considered how enticing the packaging of these products would be to small children. Thank you for they reminder

  3. Hi
    With a young one that is just starting to walk and explore I could not have read this at s better time. I had not considered how enticing the product would look to a child.
    Thank you a great reminder

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