They’re brightly colored, soft to touch, and may resemble toys or candy.

The problem is they’re not. It’s a new way of dispensing laundry detergent and poison centers across the country have seen an increase in reports of children swallowing them.

“There the little detergent pods that you just sort of throw into your washing machine and it cleans your cloths. There’s a little film that goes around these little pods and they’re manufactured to start to melt once it touches water.”

Joan McVoy with the Regional Poison Control Center says young children are putting them in their mouth. Some have swallowed them or gotten the product in their eye.

Detergent doesn’t normally elicit such a severe onset of symptoms, so McVoy suggests there may be something new in the formulation.

The poison center recommends if you have this product in your home; be aware of how dangerous it is, lock it out of reach of children and follow the disposal instructions on the label.

McVoy says manufacturers are already responding to the issue and promise a packaging change, but she says that will take several months to implement.

If you think a child has been exposed to any laundry detergent, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

The Registered Nurses at the Poison Center are available 24/7 to answer your calls and questions . The Poison Center is sponsored by the Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Wyoming Department of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services.