Did You Know?!
In the European Union each year, an estimated 50,000 children (14 years or younger) have a choking episode.[Ref:34]
When swallowed, alkali burns the swallowing passages and sometimes portions of the airway (especially above the vocal cords). This can lead to airway and swallowing passage obstruction and a serious chest infection.
Many household cleaners contain alkali (the opposite of acid). Laundry and dishwasher powders, gels and liquids, hair-straightening products, ammonia capsules (“smelling salts”) and disc batteries must be kept out of reach of young children.[Ref:15][Ref:16]
When small portions of laundry or dishwasher detergent are packaged in individual “capsules” (marshmallow-sized plastic wraps), a capsule (or “pod”) could cause complete airway obstruction (before causing internal burns).[Ref:41]
Over one hundred years ago, Dr. Chevalier Jackson began a decades-long struggle with the U. S. Congress to pass the Federal Caustic Poisoning Labelling Law of 1927. As a result, drain cleaners and many other (but not all) alkali substances have a “skull and crossbones” warning label.
It is not clear if small, symbolic “keep out of reach of young children” warning labels are as effective as “skull and crossbones” warning labels.