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Colorful laundry pods can pose a danger to young children

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When it comes to laundry detergents, consumer reports finds some do a much better job cleaning your clothes, but there's another consideration these days; safety. Consumer Reports has been working to get detergent manufacturers to change packaging.

Laundry detergent pods are a convenient way to do your laundry. There is no guesswork or measuring. As Consumer Reports has been reporting, the colorful pods can pose a danger to young children.

Poison control centers have received more than 9500 reports of children, five and under, coming in contact with or ingesting pods since early 2012.

Dr. Darshan Patel at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in New York has seen the problem firsthand.

"Kids are naturally drawn to them. And when they get them, they're water-soluble. So as soon as they go into the mouth, they start to dissolve," Dr. Patel says.

Pods from Tide and Costco's Kirkland signature are top performers in Consumer Reports' cleaning tests, but their candy-like packaging and easy access are a real concern.

"Procter and Gamble, maker of Tide Pods, told us they would help address the problem by phasing out this clear plastic container, hopefully by the end of year," Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports says.

There is new packaging, a container little ones can't see into.

Procter and Gamble says it has no plans to phase out Tide's easy-open pouch. You can still see into which the company says some consumers prefer.

Update: In fact, Tide Pods now features opaque packaging for both the tubs AND the pouches, and the new packaging is already hitting shelves across the country.

"We're concerned these appealing pods may still find their way into small children's hands," DiClerico says.

Then there are Costco's Kirkland signature Ultra Clean Pacs that come in clear containers. They look a lot like those used for snack food, and they're easy to open too.

"Costco also told us they'll be introducing an opaque container in August, followed by a child-deterrent lid, but not until early next year. The bottom line here is it's really important to keep all detergent out of the reach of curious children," DiClerico says.

If a small child ingests one of these pods, it can lead to excessive vomiting. The pods have also caused some victims to stop breathing. Serious eye injuries have been reported as well.

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