Thursday, 12 September 2013

Safe As Houses?**


I don’t remember posting anything in Welsh before – but I have just read an alarming report about a massive increase in the number of children poisoned by detergent in their homes – especially liqui-tab wash capsules. The ‘Children In Wales’ group have produced this safety poster, and in Scotland a campaign is beginning this week.


In Glasgow they are giving out free cupboard locks to the mothers of young children, so they can ensure that babies and toddlers do not get into their supplies of detergent. The pretty, rainbow coloured capsules are very attractive to small children and often end up in their mouths, with very serious consequences [poisoning, burns…]

child cupboard

It is more than 20 years since my friend’s toddler ended up in A&E having put a handful of dishwasher powder into his mouth [before the days of tabs and capsules] I remember being with a group of young mums then, as we discussed the fact that most of us kept our detergents in the cupboard under the sink [not ‘locked away, up high’ as the poster advises] but I think we all had cupboard locks fitted. I know one person who still has those locks in place, although her son is now approaching his thirties!

persil liquitabs

The Persil website says “we have made changes to some of our packaging so that you know the best way to store it and the packs are less attractive to children.” but I am not sure what they mean. They also advise Don’t re-use packaging for other purposes” [hands up if you have ever stored something else in those handy flip top boxes – I certainly have]


I am not blaming the manufacturers – and I know it is hard for Mums to be constantly vigilant. My friend- whose child was mercifully OK in the end – was in the middle of a busy laundry day and juggling baby, toddler and wet washing when she inadvertently didn’t shut the door firmly and the child had his hand in the packet then into his mouth remarkably quickly. But do be careful, please!

[** the expression “Safe as houses” is over 150 years old, and refers to the fact that investing your money in property is possibly the safest thing to do with it. It is nothing to do with accidents in the home at all]


  1. I have just received a box of the new Ariel tabs for my washing machine and was surprised at the level of warnings all over the boxes and the cellophane wrappers, never having bought this kind of product before. I can imagine that they would look remarkably attractive to a child and can see why caution is needed. Horrified at the cost of the things in the shops, though, so I won't be buying any myself!

  2. I have child locks on all my lower cupboards so the kiddies can't get in them. There are lots and lots of schemes that can provide you with them for free if you are on certain benefits or under certain levels of income.
    The lady who renter our flat before us had a little boy, so when she moved out she asked we wanted them left on the cupboards for our DD(then 18 months)

    1. You are right - the locks are not too expensive, and there are a number of groups who give them away. Mums have no excuse for NOT fitting them.

  3. I'd never even given this a thought!!!! I grew up with Ecover which doesn't look remotely tasty. Yes, definitely should be given thoughts! Horrible to think if that happening. As a child, I was more interested in eating the cat food (which tastes grim!) X


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