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Children mistake dangerous laundry tablets for sweets each day, says LGA

6 June 2016

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The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned parents to keep dishwasher and laundry capsules away from children who are frequently mistaking them for sweets.

The association, which represents more than 370 councils and looks after children’s public health, says the small, brightly coloured tablets are causing at least one child to eat the tablets every day.

The latest figures show that there were more than 2,000 recorded cases in the last five years.

While the products do display safety warnings, many parents are unaware of what can happen to their child if the tablets are swallowed.

The LGA contains harmful chemicals, which can cause burn-related injuries, internal swelling and breathing difficulties.

These children also run the risk of falling into a coma.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, LGA community wellbeing spokeswoman: “Their brightly coloured appearance and small size mean a lot of children mistake them for sweets.

“If they bite into the capsule it will cause a cocktail of harmful chemicals to dissolve in their mouth and be ingested, causing serious harm.

“Keeping these tablets in a place where children can’t access them, either locked away or in a cupboard where they can’t reach, would significantly reduce the chances of a young child getting hold of them.

“The frequency with which these incidents are happening – at least once a day – is deeply alarming and yet they can be easily prevented with a few simple steps of caution.”

A head of Child Safety Week, from 6-12 June, the LGA is working with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to raise awareness of these dangers.

Sheila Merrill, public health advisor at RoSPA, said: “Children are naturally inquisitive and tend to explore the world with their mouths – coupled with the fact liquid laundry capsules can be mistaken for sweets, and that the casing dissolves in contact with saliva, it makes it important to safely store them out of the reach of children.

“All household chemicals should be stored either up high or in a lockable cupboard.

“Keep an eye out if you are doing the laundry while children are present too, as it only takes a second for them to get hold of one.”

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