CHILD HEALTH ALERT: Derbyshire parents warned over laundry capsules

Keep these safely out of children's reach.
Keep these safely out of children's reach.

Parents across Derbyshire are being warned about the dangers of liquid laundry detergent capsules – after reports of children eating them.

The capsules contain concentrated detergent in small, squeezable and colourful packets which can make them attractive to youngsters.

On average one child a day in the UK needs emergency medical treatment after mistaking them for sweets and over the last five years there have been 2,170 incidents with nearly all victims under the age of five.

If swallowed the detergent can cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, coughing and respiratory problems. Contact with the eyes or skin can cause pain, irritation and a rash.

Derbyshire County Council is backing a national drive launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) urging parents to store the capsules safely out of children’s reach in high cupboards or storage with child-proof locks.

David Lowe, the council’s strategic director for health and communities, said: “Children, especially toddlers, can be tempted to put the capsules in their mouth or play with them because of the bright colouring. “These accidents are avoidable and we’re urging parents and anyone else who looks after young children in their home to think twice about where they store such items.”

The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association is backing the campaign.

Spokesman Philip Malpass said: “We hope it will remind parents to follow the usage instructions on the packaging, and in so doing, avoid unnecessary accidents.”

If your child swallows one of these capsules, RoSPA’s advice is to:

• Immediately seek medical advice

• Rinse the child’s mouth and face thoroughly

• Do not induce vomiting

If your child gets capsule liquid close to their eyes:

• Wash the eyes out under large amounts of cold, running water for at least ten minutes

• While washing, gently hold the eyelids open to help flush out as much of the detergent as possible