"The current voluntary standard, public awareness campaigns, and product and packaging changes to-date are good first steps, but the numbers are still unacceptably high," senior study author Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told Reuters. "We can do better."
» RELATED: Number of Georgia kids eating laundry detergent pods has tripled
If someone swallows a small amount of the concentrated detergent in the pods, it could result in diarrhea and vomiting. And it can even creep into the lungs and burn the respiratory tract, making it incredibly difficult to breathe, Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr., managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center told USA Today last year.
The D.C.-based not-for-profit National Capital Poison Center reported that biting into a pod can cause "serious injury or even death." Rubbing the product into the eyes can make the eyes burn, too.
The pods also pose lethal risks for adults with dementia.
At least six adults suffering from cognitive impairment, along with two children, have died as a result of ingesting the pods, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A 2016 report from the Georgia Poison Center showed the number of children getting sick from detergent pods tripled over the previous four years.
Read the new study in full at pediatrics.aappublications.org.