ATLANTA — The number of Georgia children getting sick from ingesting laundry detergent pods has tripled over the past four years.
Doctors at the Georgia Poison Center say the message of how dangerous the pods are still isn’t getting through.
“These are like magnets to children,” said Dr. Gaylor Lopez, the director of the GPC.
The pods look like candy and they smell good, so it’s easy to see the attraction. %
Lopez says, on average, they get more than a call a day about children, usually under the age of 6, who've ingested a laundry pod.
“Over a third of the children that we get calls about have to get sent into the ER to get evaluated. This is dangerous stuff,” Lopez said.
In 2013, we told you about 3-year-old Marcellus Flemister, who got a hold of one.
“I turned my back and the next thing I know, my son has this dripping from his mouth. He bit it or something in it. I don't know,” his mother told us.
Since then manufacturers have made changes to the packaging, putting on warning labels making them harder to get into, but Lopez says the changes haven’t gone far enough and the numbers prove it.
In 2012, the poison center had 151 cases of children who'd ingested a pod. In 2013 that jumped to 353. In 2014 it was up again to 455, and just last year 411. Lopez says the numbers so far for this year are on track to match 2014 numbers.
“The younger the child the more chances of further injury,” Lopez said. “Parents have to realize they have to keep these products further up and away from the reach of children.”
Children can start vomiting, choking and some have even died from the pods.
The national numbers are on the rise as well. More than 12,000 kids got sick last year. That's double the number from 2012.