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Children confusing soap tablets with sweets

ALMOST 200 children were reported to have swallowed bright coloured detergent gel capsules they mistook for sweets.

The annual report of the National Poisons Centre in Beaumont Hospital states that the facility recorded 191 instances of children consuming the cleaning products.

In one serious case, a toddler suffered a corneal abrasion - damage to their eye - after exposure to the chemicals while three other children had damage to their central nervous system that affected their breathing and heartbeat.

hazard

Another 87 who swallowed the gel tablets ended up vomiting.

Patricia Casey, the National Poison Centre's manager said that of the calls it received about liquid capsules last year, 93pc of the 191 cases involved children under five.

The numbers of accidents involving the capsules remains significant, despite better packaging, and parents need to remember the hazard they pose.

"Most had swallowed the liquid," said Ms Casey in response to the latest figures.

A small number of cases involving children suffering mild symptoms after swallowing nicotine in e-cigarettes was also recorded.

Other household products which children are at risk from include disinfectant, DIY decorative products, dishwasher tablets, air freshener and toilet cleaner.

The centre received another 148 calls about potential poisoning with household bleach.

Ms Casey revealed that 16 involved adults who ended up inhaling chlorine gas.

"People do not always read the labels and can get carried away with household cleaning," she said.

The centre received 9,520 calls in total last year, with the majority of these concerning accidental poisoning or medical errors.

Most came from doctors and hospitals but 2,545 were from the public.

An estimated 17pc of all calls involved intentional overdoses or recreational drug abuse.

Most poisonings occurred in the home or domestic setting.

Paracetamol was the most common drug involved, and accounted for 1,689 poisoning incidents.

hnews@herald.ie


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