Parents warned to keep washing tablets out of reach of children after rise in hospital admissions

Parents are being told to keep dishwasher and laundry tablets out of reach of young children after a rise in hospital admissions caused by them.

On average more than one child a day in Britain needs emergency medical treatment after mistaking them for sweets.

The capsules are usually brightly coloured and are often wrapped in clear plastic, and contain a cocktail of chemicals that can cause serious harm if ingested, such as burn-related injuries, internal swelling, breathing difficulties or the risk of falling into a coma.

Exposure to the eyes can cause damage including temporary blindness.

The tablets have become popular in recent years as they save having to measure out washing powder and don’t clog up the detergent draw, but the consequences of eating them could be fatal without medical attention.

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “Because of their inquisitive nature, children under five years of age are most at risk of getting their little hands on medicines or household chemicals that can end up with a hospital visit, especially as they tend to put most things in their mouth.