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Birmingham Children's Hospital
Steelhouse Lane Birmingham, West Midlands
B4 6NH West Midlands

We're backing Child Safety Week and urging families to keep harmful household products out of reach of little ones

Child Safety Week 2017 Bitrex Taste Test

Teams at Birmingham Children’s Hospital have joined forces this Child Safety Week (5 - 11 June) to urge families to keep harmful household products out of reach of little ones.

The hospital’s specialist Emergency Department treated more than 100 young people aged from 0 to three-years-old last year (2016), who had accidently swallowed things like liquitabs, air freshener liquid, as well as dishwasher and washing tablets.

Brightly coloured packaging and squeezable shapes are attention-grabbing for children and babies, and if they’re burst or swallowed they can cause chemical burns to their throats or eyes.

To help raise awareness staff from the hospital, which is part of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, are helping spread the important message by taking part in the Bitrex® Big Taste Test.

Bitrex®, otherwise known as Denatonium Benzoate, was discovered in 1958 and is now put into household, garden and automotive products to reduce the risk of accidental poisoning to reduce the risk of a child accidentally swallowing something toxic or harmful by spitting it out immediately.

While Bitrex® is in many household products, it is a last resort to prevent poisoning, as by the stage a child tastes it they have already gotten hold of the harmful toxin.

Dr Tina Newton, Emergency Department Consultant and Trust Major Trauma Lead, took part in the unique taste test in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers around the home. She said:

“We see lots of children rushed into our Emergency Department as a result of accidental poisoning every year.

“They often mistake household products such as washing tablets or air fresheners for sweets and so try to swallow them. Families can guard against this by taking a little time to check that all potentially harmful products are out of reach, out of sight and locked away.

“The message to anyone who thinks their child may have swallowed something that’s potentially poisonous. Don’t delay and get them to hospital straight away.”

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