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Isle of Man Government Office of Fair Trading

Children Mistaking Dangerous Laundry Tablets for Sweets Every Day

The OFT would like to make parents aware of the hazards of laundry tablets and the risks they pose to young children, with hundreds of incidents being reported each year.

While products display safety warnings, many parents are unaware of the dangers of a child swallowing one of the tablets. The liquid or gel detergent capsules are often small and brightly coloured, deceiving children into thinking they're sweets.

The tablets contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals which when ingested can cause serious harm, such as burn-related injuries, internal swelling, breathing difficulties, or the risk of falling into a coma. Exposure to the eye can also cause damage, including temporary blindness.

A survey by the UK's National Poison Information Service found that there were more than 2,000 recorded cases in the UK five years. Four children had breathing difficulties, one had a burned airway and four needed the support of a ventilator.

Parents are advised to keep laundry tablets and other household chemicals either up high out of reach of young children, or stored in a locked cupboard.

Mike Ball, Director of the OFT, said; "We are very concerned with the number of incidents in the UK each year involving children and laundry tablets, and would like to warn parents in Island of the potential dangers of these products.”

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