More and more children are mistaking colorful detergent tabs for sweets and eating them, new research in the United Kingdom has revealed.
Statistics from the National Poison Information Service (NPIS) show that there have been more than 2,000 recorded cases of kids swallowing powder and gel- based tablets from 2010 to 2014.
This is equal to roughly one child a day confusing these laundry pills, with kids under five years at most risk of doing so.
With that, officials from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) urge parents to lock up colorful dishwasher tablets and eye-catching capsules. This warning comes ahead of Child Safety Week which starts Monday.
What Would Happen If Your Child Consumed Laundry Tablets?
If your child accidentally takes in laundry pills, experts say it could result in serious injuries and that children could even fall into a coma. Some of the dangerous effects include swelling, breathing problems, temporary blindness, eye damage and internal burns.
Data from the NPIS revealed that four children had suffered breathing difficulties, one child had a burned airway and four children had to be placed on ventilators.
The number of kids eating dishwashing capsules and washing machine tablets fell from 486 in 2010 to 404 in 2014, the report said.
How To Keep Your Child Safe From Swallowing Detergent Tabs
Safety campaigners are calling on parents to keep detergent tablets out of the reach of curious youngsters.
Because kids are naturally inquisitive, they tend to explore the world with their mouths, says Sheila Merrill, public health adviser for RoSPA.
Add that to the fact that laundry pills dissolve in contact with saliva, Merrill says it is crucial to safely store the products somewhere your kids won't reach or find.
County Councilor Izzi Seccombe, spokesperson for LGA, says incidents of kids swallowing tablets can be prevented with simple solutions:
- All of your household chemicals should be kept at high places such as a lockable cupboard.
- When you are doing laundry and your children are present, keep an eye out for them because it might only take a second before they get hold of a laundry pill.
- You can opt for a washing machine or dishwasher that comes with child locks.
- You can also buy a baby monitor, although you have to be careful what kind to get.
Photo: Chris Wiegand | Flickr