Hospitals admitted nearly 1500 children last year following the accidental ingestion of liquitabs. Some of those admitted required ventilation in Intensive Care and a couple required re-constructive surgery.
These capsules look incredibly appealing to little ones. Please store them safely; well out of sight and reach in a locked cupboard. ROSPA are so concerned that they have been handing out safety kits and specific advice.
If you find a child has put a dishwasher tablet or some other corrosive substance in their mouth – keep as calm as you can.
Reassure them, remove any visible substance and rinse away any visible substance on their face or hands. If you think they have eaten or swallowed a corrosive substance, phone the emergency services.
If a child was to mistake a dishwasher or washing machine capsule or tablet for a sweet it could cause serious damage. Cleaning products are extremely alkaline and can burn the skin fast.
If a child has put a dishwasher tablet in their mouth it is important to remove it and rinse the product away as quickly as you can. Protect yourself if possible, but attend to them fast. If they have swallowed some of the product, ideally get them to swill milk or water around their mouth. Make them spit it out and then give them small sips of milk or water to dilute the product down their throat. DO NOT MAKE THEM SICK as this will cause them to burn again as the corrosive product comes back up.
Phone for an ambulance and keep giving them small sips of milk or water.
Look at the box that the substance has come from and read the advice in case of accidental ingestion.
If unconscious protect yourself when resuscitating
If they have swallowed some of the product, it is possible that it will have burnt both their oesophagus and their airway. This can lead to their airway swelling and becoming obstructed so that they are unable to breathe. If this happens and they go unconscious and stop breathing, you will need to resuscitate them by giving them breaths followed by chest compressions. It is important that you protect yourself when giving the breaths – this can be done with a pocket mask or plastic bag with a hole in it – cover the mouth with the bag and breath through the hole in the bag into the nose – thereby protecting yourself and ensuring that you are not burnt as well. Keep the paramedics updated.
When the ambulance takes you to hospital, take the box of tablets and the remains of any tablet they have swallowed as this will help the doctors to treat them in the best way possible.
For more information about how to prevent and treat poisoning, we suggest you read this article from our archive.
Written by Emma Hammett for First Aid for Life
It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit firstaidforlife.org.uk for more information about our courses.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.