Amplifying Consumers’ Stories to Make Change

“As a mother, I know it’s my responsibility to help keep my children safe. That’s why I’m so grateful to Consumer Reports for recognizing the risks of liquid laundry pods, and for the impact that their decision today will have in making the home a little bit safer for all of our children.”

—Jill Koziol, parent, consumer advocate, founder of Motherly blog, on July 16, 2015, the day Consumer Reports decided to stop recommending liquid laundry pods. Jill’s daughter, Cate, was severely injured by a pod.

Safety is paramount, especially in a home with young children.

Safety is paramount, especially in a home with young children. And though liquid laundry detergent pods might be small, they pose a big risk. There were almost 11,000 calls in 2013 to the American Association of Poison Control Centers related to the pods, with 43 percent of the cases involving medical treatment. The issue? The pods appeal to kids because they look like candy, which is why Consumer Reports is urging anyone with children younger than 6 to avoid them.

Through our outreach, we found Jill Koziol, whose daughter, Cate, was injured by a liquid laundry detergent pod. Koziol and CR were key members of a voluntary industry standard-setting committee to reduce the risk of harm from this product, and appeared alongside lawmakers when they introduced legislation to address the issue. Together, we helped educate other consumers about pod risks.

After more than a year of research, CR stopped recommending liquid laundry detergent pods, and we will remain steadfast until we see a meaningful decline in calls to poison control centers. That decision was covered widely through traditional and social media. Our reporting on social channels (#problemwithpods) included a compelling video, which in combination with stories like Jill Koziol’s helped make this news the top-trending item on Facebook. Our strong belief is that when an unsafe product for children is in the marketplace, raising awareness is critical.

11,714

Reports of pod incidents among kids 5 and younger in 2014. Incidents included ingesting pods or getting pod contents on their skin or in their eyes, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

What’s next?

Now that the industry has voluntarily agreed to change the packaging of these pods, we are leading a multi-stakeholder committee that will monitor injury rates to see whether the change is making a difference. If we don’t see a decline in injuries, we will push for regulatory and/or legislative remedies. And in the meantime, we will continue to educate consumers about the dangers of this household product and withhold our recommended check mark.

11,714

Reports of pod incidents among kids 5 and younger in 2014. Incidents included ingesting pods or getting pod contents on their skin or in their eyes, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.