Utility rooms and kitchens around the nation are host to a product that was created for convenience, is small and looks like candy. Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are replacing large boxes of powdered detergent and plastic containers of liquid detergent at a swift rate. The problem is that the pods are easy to handle, brightly colored and can look like a sweet treat to a young child or baby. They can also be deadly.

A 7-month-old Florida infant managed to get his hands on a laundry detergent pod, ate it and died.  An autopsy has been conducted but investigators are awaiting further lab test results before confirming a cause of death.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the infant was with his mother at a shelter on Friday afternoon. When the mother stepped away, the child ate a packet of laundry detergent that was inside a laundry basket on the bed where he had been sleeping.

The child was coughing when emergency responders arrived but died later at Osceola Regional Medical Center, according to media reports.

The number of children sickened by ingesting these pods is astounding. Over 6, 000 cases were reported in 2012 and so far in 2013, The American Association of Poison Control Centers says they’ve received reports of more than 5,700 kids accidently ingesting the packets.

The most common ages for children who are getting into these products are 5-years-old and under.

The laundry detergent packets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2010 and have become a popular substitute to regular laundry and dishwasher detergent options. It didn’t take long before it became evident that the pods could pose a danger to small children and pets. The American Association of Poison Control Centers, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have all sent out warnings about the health hazards.

Proctor & Gamble has made changes in the design in their Tide detergent pouches hoping to make them less attractive to children.

If you have small children or pets make sure you keep these pods either locked up or in a high enough place where children can’t reach them. Don’t let your child handle them either. The packets dissolve quickly when they come in contact with water and that includes wet hands or saliva. Also, they can puncture easily and the powder can get into your child’s eyes.

The Poison Control Center recommends that parents and caregivers keep the center's phone number entered in their cell phone contact list or in an easy to get to location. The number is 800-222-1222.

These products are convenient and easy to use so they are probably not going away. It’s up to parents and caregivers to make sure children don’t gain access to them.

Source: James Eng,  http://news.msn.com/us/baby-boy-ate-detergent-pod-before-death