Warning after 400 children a year poisoned by laundry capsules

The capsules have been criticised for looking too much like sweets.

The capsules have been criticised for looking too much like sweets.

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Parents are being urged to ensure laundry products are kept out of the reach of children as new statistics revealed that more than 2,000 have been taken ill after swallowing laundry capsules in the last five years.

A new report from Which? has highlighted figures from the National Poison Information Service which show the frightening number of youngsters mistaking the potentially harmful plastic capsules for something edible.

Children are known for putting almost anything they can lay their hands on straight in their mouths and for even the most eagle-eyed parents it only takes a moment of inattention for a child to swallow something they shouldn’t.

Making matters worse is that fact the small brightly coloured capsules can look enticingly like sweets to young eyes.

Speaking to Which?, Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 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.”

The capsules contain a mix of chemicals which when ingested can cause internal burns, swelling, breathing problems, temporary blindness and in the worst scenario can induce a coma.

EU rules introduced last year forced manufacturers to make the plastic pods more water and pressure-resistant and to taste disgusting but the only real way to keep children safe is to keep the capsules locked away well out of any child’s reach.