It sounds obvious to adults, but small children do not realize that popular household laundry detergent pods are not safe to eat. A study published Monday in Pediatrics said that between 2012 and 2013, more than 17,000 children under the age of 6 were exposed to the pods. Some played with them and burst them open, “exposing their skin or eyes to the detergent chemicals,” said the study. Many of them ingested the detergent packs, which are small, often colorful, and may look like candy. “Serious medical consequences have been documented, including respiratory distress, marked lethargy, and depression of consciousness,” the team at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said. Researchers did not know why the detergent pods appeared to be more dangerous than detergent in bottles and boxes, but the pods are so pervasive that they now pose “a serious poisoning risk to young children,” the study concluded.