Dangers of laundry capsules highlighted by RoSPA

In the past five years, over 2,000 children have been injured in some way after handling laundry detergent capsules.

This statistic from the National Poisons Information Service has led the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to launch its “Take action today, put them away” educational campaign.

The initiative highlights the potential dangers of these convenient cleaning products, if handled and misused by children.

Liquid laundry detergent capsules contain concentrated detergent which is released upon contact with moisture. This detergent can cause a host of problems including skin rashes, eye irritation, conjunctivitis, vomiting, nausea, respiratory problems and drowsiness.

These small capsules are often colourful, tactile, and to a young child can be mistaken for sweets.

The campaign echoes the advice given to parents about all household cleaning products and medicines.

Most importantly, the capsules should be kept in their original container, with the lid tightly shut, ideally high up and out of sight and reach of children.

Alternatively, they can be placed in an additional box, or cupboard, fitted with child locks.

Should the worst happen and a child gets hold of a capsule, the following advice has been given:

Capsules in the mouth:

  • Rinse the child’s mouth and face thoroughly.
  • Do not induce vomiting

Exposure to eyes or skin:

  • Rinse carefully with plenty of clean water.

A doctor should be called or the child taken to A&E.

Philip Malpass of the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association said: “Cleaning products are designed to be safe to use and to provide the clean and hygienic home we often take for granted today. The accidents we see involving young children and cleaning products are avoidable and whilst the severity of the injuries are generally low, we hope that this campaign will remind parents to follow the usage instructions on the packaging, and in so doing, avoid unnecessary accidents.”