Liquitabs a personal injury risk to children warn doctors

September 21, 2012

Staff at Glasgow hospital have put out a warning about “liquitabs” and the chance that they can cause chemical burning to children.

Since the beginning of 2012, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children has treated five under 2 year-olds for burns caused by biting or squeezing liquitabs.

In these cases, the children experienced chemical burning to the throat or eyes, with one child falling unconscious when thinking a liquitab was a sweet of some type.

Dr Lyndsay Fraser, a nose, ear and throat doctor at the hospital, said that physicians have been aware that there is a risk of ea personal injury risk, especially to the eyes, when liquitabs suddenly burst open.

Recently, it appears that children are taking bites out of the tablets, thinking that they are sweets because, of their soft texture and bright colours.

The liquitab contains an alkaline solution that can cause an instant chemical burn to sensitive parts of the skin or inner lining of the nose or throat. The alkali can also cause breathing problems when the airways begin to swell quickly.

Dr Fraser said that youngsters can open up most liquitab brands fairly easily as the packaging is not packed in containers that are child proof.

Many parents are unaware of the potential dangers of these commonly used household items, storing them in cupboards that were unlocked and could be easily reached by children. It is extremely important that parents are made aware that the substance stored in liquid capsules are actually very dangerous chemicals and they must be stored in a lockable cupboard so that children are unable to reach them.

One of a number of instances in which a serious injury occurred was a youngster who swallowed the complete contents of a liquitab at the age of 7 months. He really believed it was a sweet as it was coloured brightly and was quite similar to a jelly.

The child was rushed to hospital, into intensive care, and spent a full 10 days recovering.