07/14/2012 02:24 EDT | Updated 09/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Health warning issued about candy-like detergent pods

Health Canada is warning parents to keep miniature laundry detergent pods away from children following dozens of reports of kids getting sick after eating the candy-like products.

Consuming a detergent pod is unlikely to be fatal for a child, so parents should stay calm and call poison control if it happens, says Dr. Joseph Copeland, of B.C. Children's Hospital.

"They're concentrated for your laundry, they're also concentrated in your kids stomach. The thing that we most commonly see with ingestion or swallowing of detergents is that kids will get nausea and vomiting," Copeland said.

At least three major North American manufacturers of cleaning products make the colourful plastic pods.

An advisory was issued in the U.S in May after a number of children swallowed or bit into them.

There were no reports at the time of similar incidents in Canada, but Poison Control centres across the country are now getting reports, with at least 10 cases have been reported in B.C.

"Kids are going to go, ‘Oh, what's that?,'” said Copeland. “If it looks like candy to you, I assure you it looks like candy to a three-year-old."

Health Canada advises that due to the hazards they pose to young children, laundry detergent packs should be stored in a location where they cannot be found or swallowed.

It’s also advised that all parents keep the contact number of their local poison control centre number near the phone.