The City Council's Trading Standards Service would like to draw parents' attention to the importance of storing chemical items such as laundry detergents in a lockable cupboard, out of the reach of children.

Some of the most serious accidents happen in the home, particularly in the kitchen and the Trading Standards Service has been made aware of cases involving young children who have been injured after biting into or placing colourful liquitab detergents in their mouths, after mistaking them for sweets.

Liquitab detergents are an alternative to traditional powder, liquid or tablet style detergents used in washing machines and dishwashers. They are placed in the drum area of washing machines and in the "tablet" slot in dishwashers.

If used correctly, these products are completely safe and very effective, but it is important to underline that it is impossible to "childproof" the home this is a dangerously misleading term implying that 100 per cent safety is achievable.

The Trading Standards Service has been alerted by colleagues to cases in which children were admitted to hospital in Glasgow as a result of the ingestion of liquid detergent from capsules. In addition to children swallowing detergent, doctors have also previously raised awareness of the risk of injury to young children who get liquid detergent in their eyes.

If children are affected by chemical products then medical treatment should be immediately sought.

The City Council's Trading Standards Service continues to support the national awareness campaign. We will continue to help to make parents and carers of young children in Newcastle aware of the dangers posed by liquitab detergents.

Copies of the localised poster for the Safety Campaign have been sent out to all organisations including nurseries and schools across the City and anyone wishing to get a copy of the poster for their own premises should contact the Trading Standards Service on (0191) 2116121.

Download a copy of the safety campaign poster (pdf 598 kb)

OECD Global Safety Campaign

The OECD Global Awareness-raising Campaign on Laundry Detergent Capsules (16 to 23 March 2015) aimed to inform of the risks posed by a product that is present in growing number of households worldwide: laundry detergent capsules (or packets). These products can be attractive to children and can pose serious dangers if not handled and stored safely. For further information go to OECD

To see a copy of the final report one the effect of the campaign go to Report (pdf 1 mb)


To access a news story which features concerns as expressed around the safety of liquitabs visit BBC News

Useful Contacts

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Child Accident Prevention Trust

For any information contact the Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.
Phone: 0191 2116121

Page last updated: 
4 January 2018
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