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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Warning issued over liquitabs

6th September 2012

Doctors in Scotland have issued a warning over liquitabs used in washing machines or dishwashers.


The alert from the team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow comes after five children had been treated after biting into or squeezing the tabs and suffering chemical burns to their eyes or their throat.

Dr Lyndsay Fraser, from the hospital’s ear nose and throat unit, said: “We have known for some time about the risk of eye injuries from kids squeezing these liquitabs until they burst.

“What we have seen more recently is that children are biting into the tablets, presumably because they think they are sweets as they have the same soft texture and bright colouring.

“The alkaline chemicals in the liquitab cause an immediate chemical burn, causing breathing problems as the airway starts to swell rapidly.”

Children affected in Glasgow had to have a tube inserted to help their breathing while the swelling in the airway went down.

Dr Fraser said that it was critical to ensure that any child who had bitten into a tab was taken to hospital for immediate treatment otherwise their airway may close completely with “potentially fatal consequences.”

The Glasgow team has raised the issue in a letter in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood to alert medical colleagues and parents to the dangers of liquitabs.

Dr Fraser said that most liquitab brands do not come packaged in child proof containers, so it was important to store them out of the reach of children.


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