(HealthDay News) — Laundry detergent “pods,” an alternative to traditional liquid and powder detergents, pose a serious health risk to children, especially those under age 3, according to a report published online November 10 and in Pediatrics.

The report authors analyzed statistics from U.S. poison control centers from 2012–2013. They found 17,230 reports of children younger than 6 who were injured by laundry pods, mostly (79.7%) by ingesting them.

Children under 3 accounted for about three-quarters of cases (73.5%), and 7.5% had what the researchers called a moderate or major medical issue as a result. More than 700 children required hospital admission, often to intensive care. In addition to one death, 102 children needed to be intubated.

“Something about these pods makes them highly toxic. They pose a very serious poisoning threat to kids,” report coauthor Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, told HealthDay. “Parents need to make an informed decision if they bring these products into their homes,” Smith added. “We’re recommending that they not use these pods if they have young children in the home.”

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