Tide to change Pods lid amid child safety concerns

Fri May 25, 2012 12:53pm EDT

May 25 (Reuters) - After at least one child was hospitalized for swallowing its prettily packaged detergent, Procter & Gamble Co said on Friday it will make Tide Pods more difficult to open.

A double latch will be put on the lid of Tide Pods tubs and should be in markets in the next couple of weeks, P&G spokesman Paul Fox said on Friday.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) issued a warning last week that people should keep highly concentrated, single-dose packs of detergent high up and out of the reach of children.

According to the AAPCC, some young children who swallowed the small packets required hospitalization, while others got the detergent in their eyes.

"Laundry packs, like any cleaning product, must be kept out of the reach of children," P&G's Fox said.

The AAPCC said that poison control centers have been getting more calls about children exposed to single-dose laundry detergent packets.

In one example, it said that a 15-month old, who bit into a pack and swallowed a mouthful vomited profusely, was brought to a hospital and put on a ventilator for airway protection.

P&G is aware of one incident involving Tide Pods in which a child needed medical treatment, Fox said.

Large packages of Tide Pods are clear containers, reminiscent of fish bowls, with orange lids. Tide Pods also come in resealable bags, which P&G will review as well.

Tide Pods, a single-dose blue, orange and white capsule, is the best-selling, single-dose laundry detergent in the United States. The product, introduced this year, has about a 60 percent share of the new and growing unit dose detergent category.

Other single-dose detergent brands include all mighty pacs, from Sun Products Corp and Arm & Hammer Power Paks from Church & Dwight Co Inc and Purex from Henkel.

Representatives from other manufacturers could not be immediately reached for comment.

The decision to change the packaging of Tide Pods comes after the product's debut was delayed, first because demand from retailers was so strong, and then because P&G could not ramp up production at a plant quickly enough to meet such demand.

P&G Chairman and Chief Executive Bob McDonald earlier this year said Tide Pods would be the company's biggest innovation of 2012. It took P&G eight years of research, with 75 technical staff working on the project full-time, to come up with Tide Pods. More than 6,000 consumers were involved in testing what the company has called Tide's biggest innovation since Liquid Tide's 1984 launch.

Single-dose laundry detergent has been sold in Europe for years. Single-dose dishwasher detergents have also been sold in many markets, including the United States, for years.