A group of pediatricians is urging companies like Procter & Gamble to change the packaging of laundry detergent pods to look less like candy. The group found the soap packets pose risks to young children and calls to poison control centers have surged.

From March 2012 to April 2013, U.S. poison control centers received more than 17,000 calls -- about one per hour -- regarding children who were exposed to chemicals in laundry detergent pods, according to the study published in Pediatrics Monday.

More than 700 children were hospitalized after eating or breaking open pods. One child died in the one-year period.

“Laundry detergent pods pose a serious poisoning risk to young children,” the six authors wrote. “This nationwide study underscores the need for increased efforts to prevent exposure of young children to these products.”

The detergent, like Tide Pods, sells in small plastic pillows containing the laundry soap and sometimes brighteners, bleaches, stain removers and other toxic chemicals.

The number of young children ingesting, breathing in or smearing soap in their eyes from laundry detergent pods rose nearly 650 percent in a year’s period, from March 2012 to April 2013, the study found. Children younger than 3 accounted for nearly three-quarters of the cases.

The doctors who authored the study recommend companies selling the pods develop a voluntary product safety standard and improve packaging and labeling.

P&G declined to comment on the study.