Give small sips of milk or water
If unconscious protect yourself when resuscitating
If a child was to mistake a dishwasher or washing machine capsule or tablet for a sweet it could prove fatal – 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 and 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 they have swallowed some of the product, it is possible that it will have burnt both their oesophagus and their airway and 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 you go 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.
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.