Sunday, September 9, 2012
Warnings of the danger of washing machine liquitabs following five cases of children being hospitalised with internal burns after mistaking them for sweets
The alkaline chemicals in the detergent cause an immediate chemical burn
Causes breathing problems as the airway starts to swell rapidly.
Parents are being warned about the dangers of liquid detergent capsules following a number of cases of children biting into them after apparently mistaking them for sweets.
The brightly coloured capsules, which are used in dishwashers and washing machines, cause an immediate chemical burn, resulting in breathing problems as the airway swells.
The consequences could be fatal without medical attention.
The warning comes after five youngsters under the age of two have been admitted to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow this year after possibly thinking they were jelly sweets.
Dishwasher and washing machine liquitabs pose a threat to children who can mistake them for sweets, doctors have warned
They have also called for childproof packaging for the products to stop youngsters being able to get to them.
Dr Lyndsay Fraser, from the hospital's ear, nose and throat department, said: 'We have known for some time about the risk of eye injuries from kids squeezing these liquitabs until they burst.
'The alkaline chemicals in the liquitab cause an immediate chemical burn, causing breathing problems as the airway starts to swell rapidly. Getting them to hospital straight away is imperative.
'In most of the cases seen so far, we have had to insert a breathing tube to protect the child's airway from the swelling and help them breathe. If these children hadn't reached A&E on time, the airway could close over completely with potentially fatal consequences."
Once the breathing tube is inserted, children can be on a ventilator for as long as two weeks until the swelling settles.
One child admitted to the hospital required further surgery to repair the damage caused by the capsule.
Dr Fraser said: 'It really is only good fortune that we haven't seen a death resulting from this type of injury.
'It is important parents realise that these liquid capsules are dangerous chemicals and they should be kept locked away so children can't reach them. They must be stored safely at all times, out of reach and sight of young children.
'Wherever possible and, as with all household cleaning products and bleaches, they should be stored in a locked cupboard or in a cupboard that cannot be accessed by children.'
Shannon Hutchison ended up calling an ambulance for her seven-month-old daughter Orla who ate the contents of a tablet. Orla was rushed to intensive care and spent 10 days in hospital.
'Orla was at my sister's house playing with my two-year-old nephew who managed to get hold of one of these liquitabs. He thought it was a sweetie because it was bright and like a jelly, so he gave it to Orla who bit into it," Ms Hutchison said.
'Immediately we realised there was a problem as she was going in and out of consciousness, so phoned an ambulance right away. It was terrifying. I'm just so lucky to still have my little girl.
'Now I make sure that all the liquitabs are locked away and I tell everyone to do the same.
'The boxes they come in really should be child-proof and I hope manufacturers do something about this as I wouldn't want this to happen to any other little girl or boy.'
Dr Fraser and his colleagues have published a letter in the medical journal Archives of Diseases in Childhood to alert medics and parents to the danger.
Source: Daily Mail