Tot who mistook Persil pod for toy suffers ‘bright red burns’ after it burst on face


A mum has vowed never to buy washing pods again after her toddler ‘mistook one for a squeezy toy’ and burst it over his face, leaving him with ‘bright red burns’.

Danielle Savage had got the packet of Persil 3-in-1 Colour Protect capsules out as she was doing housework with two weeks ago, while 23-month-old Ronnee joined in to help.

However the 29-year-old says as she turned her back for a split-second, the inquisitive tot picked up an ‘inviting’ multicoloured pod after she believes he mistook it for a squeezy toy and it burst all over himself.

The little boy let out a piercing ‘wail’ as the blue liquid splashed across his body, before receptionist Danielle quickly scooped him up and rushed to wash it off.

But despite Danielle’s quick-thinking, little Ronnee suffered painful ‘burns’, which forced his mum and dad Wade, 30, to rush him to A&E at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

A picture of Ronnee's 'bright red burns'
Ronnee suffered ‘bright red burns’ after the Persil pod exploded

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While Ronnee is making a good recovery, the mum-of-three has stopped buying washing capsule refill packs and is urging other parents to do the same – fearing the outcome for her youngest child could have been much worse.

Danielle, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said: “It really was my worst nightmare.

“As soon as [the liquid] came into contact with him he’d felt it burn.

“[He let out] a piercing scream. It wasn’t a cry – it was a scream I’ve never heard before. I instantly turned round and saw him.

“He does talk, and he was saying it hurt, but with how he screamed, he must have been in pain. It was like a wail.

“It literally happened in a split-second. One minute he was at the side of me, the next he was screaming. It happened so fast.

“As soon as I washed the blue off it was bright red instantly. As soon as it had come into contact it’d burnt his skin.

A picture of Robbee after the episode
Mum Danielle heard her boy scream when the capsule burst

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“I’ve stopped buying them. I would tell other parents not to buy them.”

Danielle claims she had always bought boxes of the pods, which come with child-safe locks to prevent accidents occurring, however on this occasion she had forgotten to decant her refill pack.

On Persil’s website, the brand warns ‘washing capsules may look a lot like interesting, colourful toys or sweets in [children’s] eyes’.

Receptionist Danielle believes little Ronnee might have mistaken the pods for some of his sister’s toy slime, as the gel had the ‘same consistency’.

Danielle said: “I know there are adverts that tell you to watch out for [the pods], but I don’t think you realise how bad they actually are. I never did.

“This was a refill pack. I normally buy the boxes and [on this occasion], I hadn’t decanted them into the box.

“We need to keep them away from our kids.

“The ones I had were purple, white and blue. They’re three different colours, three different textures.

A picture of the pack of Persil washing tablets
The family have vowed to never buy washing tablets again

“My daughter has slime and things. They’ve got the same consistency. To him, they’re the same. They look inviting.

“They’re just not safe – especially for something you use to wash your clothes every day. You wouldn’t believe it could do that to your skin.

“I was just doing the washing like I normally do. I’d left the bag on the floor and was just putting the clothes in the washing machine.

“Ronnee was just stood next to me. He was helping me put the clothes in the washing machine.

“I was stood at the side of him and then I heard him scream. When I turned round, he was covered in the blue liquid from the tablet.

“He hadn’t got a t-shirt on, but he had a nappy and his trousers on.

“I picked him up and put him straight under the tap to wash it all off, then we were heading straight to A&E.”

As the family sat in hospital while Ronnee was monitored, Danielle claims a medic admitted Ronnee was one of the less severe cases she had witnessed.

A picture of Ronnee in a swing
Ronnee received steroid cream to treat his burns, his mum said

After an afternoon in A&E, Ronnee was thankfully discharged and given some cream to help with the burns.

Danielle said: “When I went to the hospital, [the nurse] said he was one of the better cases she’d seen. She said kids have had skin grafts from [washing tablets] burning them so badly.

“She said Ronnee was quite lucky because it’d only gone to the first layer of skin.

“She washed him with steroid solution to make sure all the liquids were off him.

“He was observed for five hours. They were monitoring his heart rate and temperature, then he had blood taken.

“They did a general check of inside his mouth and down his throat to see if he’d swallowed or ingested anything. Luckily that was all clear.

“Then he was given some steroid cream to put on his burns.

“He’s a lot better now. It’s healed really well and gone scabby now like when I graze heals.

“I’ve got serious mum guilt. I hadn’t even gone out of the room.”

A spokesperson for Unilever, who own and manufacture Persil in the UK, said: “We’re very sorry to hear of Danielle’s recent experience.

“We’re glad to hear that Ronnee is making a good recovery and hope he is now feeling much better.

“All our Persil capsules and packaging are designed to minimise the risk of accidents by including measures such as child-impeding closure systems and safety features, as well as prominent on-pack safety warnings.

“It is essential that laundry products are always kept out of the reach of children before, during and after use with the pack kept closed.

“To support this, in addition to on-pack messaging, we also include safety information in our marketing for these products as well as supporting the UK Cleaning Products Industry’s safety awareness and education campaign, Keep Caps From Kids.”

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