Researchers are issuing more warnings to parents about the dangers of ingesting laundry detergent pods, after a new study showed that more than 700 children in the U.S. landed in hospital in two years as a result of the convenient, squishy packets.

In Ontario alone, the province’s poison control centre gets up to 45 calls a month about the detergent pods, which are often colourful and may look like candy or toys to children.

A study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that, of more than 17,200 poison centre calls in the U.S. about young kids getting ahold of the packets, 769 children were hospitalized in 2012-13. The poison control centre calls involved children younger than 6.

Most weren't seriously hurt, but one child died, 144 had eye injuries, 30 went into comas and 12 had seizures.

The detergent pods are filled with concentrated liquid laundry soap, and are widely available on store shelves throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition to poisoning and mouth burns when the capsule is ingested, eye injuries have also occurred when kids burst the capsules.

Dr. Gary Smith, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, the study’s lead author, said laundry detergent pods have strong chemicals in them.

“Sometimes the chemicals get into the eyes. Sometimes they're swallowed. And if they're swallowed, they can cause severe burns to the esophagus and the stomach," he said. 

The American Cleaning Institute, which represents the detergent industry, said in a statement that manufacturers are making the pods safer by changing the packaging and improving warning labels.

But health officials say companies may need to go further, and make the product itself less toxic. Until then, they advise parents of young children to consider using regular detergent, or keep the pods out of reach and under lock.

With a report from CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and senior producer Elizabeth St. Philip and files from The Associated Press