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Boston parents sue Costco over the detergent pod they say seriously hurt their daughter

A Boston couple has sued Costco and the maker of Kirkland detergent pods for a 2013 incident with a detergent pod that they say left their young daughter with injuries for which she still needs treatment.

In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Rosalynd and Jimmy Medina say their young daughter had gotten ahold of one of the brightly-colored pods one of them had bought a container of at the Dedham Costco and it "exploded" all over her hands, mouth and eyes:

On or about August 29, 2013, minor Plaintiff A.M. was rushed to the emergency room at Boston Children’s Hospital where she was admitted as a patient for four days and subsequently required long-term medical care for treatment of corneal abrasion, chemical pneumonitis, respiratory distress with upper airway swelling, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic changes in her lungs, feeding difficulties and reactive airway disease.

[She] is still undergoing treatment as a result of the injuries she sustained from her exposure to the Kirkland Ultraclean Detergent Pods.

The parents say the two companies should have known about the risks to young children posed by the pods and not sold a clearly dangerous product.

As designed and manufactured, the pods, which contain highly concentrated toxic detergent, are prone to rupture when handled by children, who are attracted to the pods because of their size, color and overall design and their packaging;

The pods are dangerously defective and pose an unreasonable risk of harm to young children;

The pods are packaged and marketed with inadequate warnings; and

The pods are dangerously defective and not reasonably fit for their ordinary and foreseeable uses.

The couple is seeking compensation for their daughter's physical injuries, mental anguish, penalties and attorney's fees.

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PDF icon Complete complain, 164.98 KB

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Comments

The kid wrote a great op-ed about his state of mind leading up to the "accident".

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I don't use washing machine pods but I do use dishwasher pods and I wonder how/why you'd store these in a place children could get to them? You wouldn't let your kids play with a bottle of detergent or bleach. They come in big tubs that are easy to store on a shelf out of the reach of young hands.

I feel very sorry for the parents and child, but seems mostly like trying to affix blame for a parental oversight.

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The pods are dangerously defective and not reasonably fit for their ordinary and foreseeable uses.

They are very fit for their ordinary and foreseeable uses. Because that would be using them as a way to put a measured dose of detergent in the washing machine and having it release when wetted by the water in the washing machine so as to distribute amongst the wash water.

They do that job well...when you're not letting your kids slobber on them.

If this couple had left their daughter in the car on a hot day, would they have sued the car manufacturer and said the car is "dangerously defective" and not fit for "ordinary and foreseeable uses" because it let them accidentally maim their daughter?

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If there isn't a message like that on the packaging, I'll eat a -- well, I'll be surprised.

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The parents are claiming the message isn't big enough, or not easy to read or understand, etc. If the font was 100pt and visible from space they'd still claim it was too small.

It's a bogus excuse where they are attempting to get a settlement out of a large corporation. They are rolling the dice and hoping that Costco will just settle quickly for a large sum of money.

Costco will try to get the case dismissed and if that fails they'll decide if it's cheaper to fight it or settle.

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It's not the store's fault that you can't pay attention to your kids. I hope you lose and are forced to compensate Costco for their legal fees.

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than that is a problem.

The kid could of been just holding it not playing with it.

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The kid shouldn't be anywhere near it to begin with. Would you give your child a bottle of bleach to play with?

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Yes, you're right, parents shouldn't let kids anywhere near this or anything else that could kill them. That you seem shocked a kid might still find something potentially fatal suggests you've either never had a kid or are far, far more perfect than the rest of us.

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untold millions of parents manage to go the entirety of their offsprings' childhoods without poisoning them

kids can get into dangerous stuff that can leave lasting issues. its definitely the exception rather than the rule, certainly in our 'first world' country

some people have more respect for chemicals like detergents than others. my father was a chemist- i was either educated about or unable to come in contact with substances that would hurt me like that

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putting these washing machine detergents in a special, locked up place where kids can't get at them is the better way to keep washing machine detergents away from kids.

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kids get a hold of things without their parents knowledge. It happens. They are kids. I read the complaint again; it alleges that the pod exploded in the young child's hand. The young child could be 10 years old, old enough to be able to handle a pod into a wash. We do not know the child's age. It does not matter. If the dang thing exploded, as the complaint alleges, with no additional help from said young child, I do believe they have a good case.

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The containers of these washing machine and dish-washing detergent pods (and regular powder detergents, as well.) generally have a large "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN" warning on the back of these containers. Maybe if the parents had taken the time to look at the back of the container, they would've displayed more common sense and not put it in a place where children could easily get to it in the first place, or, better still, kept it under lock and key!

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it isn't just kids. anybody that has had a quadrupedal pet should be equally well versed in 'not leaving poison out'

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I've seen warnings on these pods to keep them away from children. That said they are very brightly colored and kids like bright things and kids go out of their way to get to things they want. Years ago a two-year old cousin managed to get into a kitchen cabinet that was up near the ceiling to get to a bottle of baby aspirin – you know –the orange-flavored ones – because they tasted good. Fortunately he was caught before he could eat very many. And my relatives did not try to sue St. Joseph's. They thanked the powers that be and put the baby aspirin in a locked cabinet. The moral? Never underestimate the ingenuity of a child and remain ever vigilant.

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Can this be a more obvious troll. It is a beautiful day out. Go for a walk.

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This one's on the Parents.

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The contents aren't under pressure. I expect discovery of how much pressure must be applied to make it explode should be interesting.

Mr. and Mrs. Medina, it's awful that your daughter suffered injury, and we all sympathize, but this is on you. This happened because you let your daughter play with cleaning products, which is something you could reasonably be expected not to do.

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I considered taking a few not in their box inside my luggage once, and decided even that was a bad idea based on the information on the packaging.

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The casing dissolves in water so if they are put in a place with high humidity (and/or the sealed package is left open) this can cause the packets to dissolve and the tasty blue goo to leak out. Not exactly an explosion but some people use that term for anytime something messy leaks.

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It's possible the parents aren't the bad guys here.

Check your health insurance contract. They often require you to cooperate with your insurer if your insurer tries to recover its costs via subrogation

Purely by accident, through no fault of your friend, you slip and fall on his front steps, and break your arm. You go to the hospital and get treated. A month or two later, you get a questionnaire from some company that looks to be affiliated with your health insurer, looking for more info about the accident: exactly where did it happen, etc. You fill it out and return it, not thinking further about it. Next thing you know you get a call from your friend asking, WTF? Why are you suing me? Turns out a case has been filed in your name, by your insurance company, looking to recover its costs from your friend's homeowners' insurance company.

I don't know if that's the case here, but that's sometimes the case behind those "I can't believe he's enough of a jerk to sue his own aunt!" cases you see in the news.

Yup, it sucks.

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but its also 100% the truth that they didnt keep a dangerous substance away from their child

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Cripes. I can't believe all the judgemental folks on this thread. The parents could of locked the damn things up but on wash day, got distracted and turned away for a brief moment to deal with something and the kid grabbed one which exploded in her hand.

You can do better.

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except we do definitely know that the minor child under supervision of her parents was definitely exposed to the detergent which caused this damage.

'judgemental'. in this context, you basically said you don't like the facts of the situation. nowhere did i place a judgement on anybody.

congrats on being a pissbaby little bitch though. YOU can do better. if you dont like the fact that the parents are responsible for what happens to a child i really dont know what to tell you.

do accidents happen? definitely. did this packet of detergent jump out of a dark corner of costco and assault the child? no, it happened under the parents supervision.

i can guarantee you didn't actually read the complaint filed by the parents, either. the complaint itself claims that the detergent looks like candy (effing lol). so if i have a poisonous substance that im claiming looks like candy, i'm going to blame costco for having it anywhere near my four year old. k.

now you've seen me judge somebody. i hope you understand the difference between stating facts and making a judgement in the future, but i have no hope for you.

also liking your own post is pathetic.

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Just why do these detergent pods have to be made to look like candy? Surely they could be made to work just as well if they were an ugly brown color, or white, or gray. The manufacturers ought to reconsider their packaging strategy.

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are attracted to things that aren't ugly

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There are lots of detergent powders that are not colored like Kool-Aid. Some are, but color doesn't seem to be a big deal with powders, so why is it with pods?

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The parents could of locked the damn things up but on wash day, got distracted and turned away for a brief moment to deal with something and the kid grabbed one which exploded in her hand.

A kid grabbing a pod on wash day while the parents are distracted and turn away isn't Costco's problem.

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However, I don't think insurance companies sue for mental anguish.

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Nope, they provide it to me free of charge.

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I have to second Bob here. For all of the obvious reasons which everyone has stated, this does not seem like the maker is culpable, and I'll go out on a limb and guess that the packaging for the pods has a bunch of "Keep Out of Reach..." warnings. But this does have the fingerprints of an insurance company all over it.

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How shocking that people who buy the laundry equivalent of Lunchables are too lazy to properly supervise their kids, and then turn around and blame the store.

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I see where you are going with this, but what is the non-lazy way of doing laundry? I imagine it involves pounding my dainties with rocks in a glacier-fed stream. Seems like most people use washing machines and some sort of detergent product. But then again, most of us are also not supervising our kids. For example, I am commenting on UHub right now instead of supervising my kids.

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I see where you are going with this, but what is the non-lazy way of doing laundry?

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/hXhsJyd0l8X7i/giphy.gif)

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you do not know specifics, like myself, we have no idea if the kid was not supervised or not? Kids are fast and do things. Even I know that and I am not a parent. Cripes.

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if you dont supervise a 4 year old near poison you're negligent

if you do supervise a 4 year old and they still end up poisoned you're either complicit or an idiot

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/LoLubTr.gif)

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The parents say the two companies should have known about the risks to young children posed by the pods and not sold a clearly dangerous product

The parents should have known about the risk of keeping poison accessible to a young child. This is very likely not Costco's fault.

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that the parents have no knives in their kitchen

and that they've rounded out and padded the corners of the counter tops

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Wen it comes to laundry detergent, I have no idea why everyone isn't using powder. Liquid detergent is messy, it drips everywhere and contributes to crud building up in your front loader. Pods are kind of silly, since a little bit of water turns them to mush. Powder detergent rocks.

I do think manufacturers deserve a tiny bit of blame for making pods all colorful. They should probably all be green. Kids hate green food.

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It shouldn't matter if this is laundry detergent, bleach, rat poison, shampoo, dishwasher detergent, Drano, baby aspirin or cough syrup.

ALL of these items are dangerous if used incorrectly or misused.

Very young children generally don't know any better, and that's why it is up to the PARENT to be a PARENT and make sure that (a) these items are stored in a place and manner that makes it difficult to get to (even for the adults, if need be) and (b) know where the child is and what he/she is up to more often than not. Older children need to be taught that some things are dangerous and not to be touched.

Neither the retail store nor the manufacturer should be held responsible for this individual's perceived failure of due diligence. It's laundry detergent. It shouldn't matter if it's powder, liquid, "colorful" pods, or molded to look like candy, cheeseburgers or action figures...it's not food and not a toy, so it's up to the ADULTS of the family to be aware of that, and store it in a secure manner and be aware of where the child/children are.

I'm sorry the little one is going through all this pain and suffering. It has to be a terrible thing to experience.

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based on commonsense and rationality, not the law, which I'm no expert, is mom and dad are solely responsible for their children's safety. They should have put these things in place their daughter wouldn't have been able to access. Shit happens. It was an accident. It's not the fault of the manufacturer or seller of these pods IMHO.

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