A dishwasher tablet nearly killed that little girl

The Irish Independent reported on the story of 17 month old toddler Jenny Maher on 1oth November 2015. Jenny got seriously ill after after she bit into a dishwasher tablet.

dishwasher tablet victim Jenny Maher

“These dishwasher tablets are individually wrapped and look like sweets to children,” said dad Colin.

Jenny was transferred to a Dublin hospital where she was put into intensive care and remained there for a week.
“The doctors told us they see between 100 and 200 cases of this every year,” Colin said.

This is a serious reminder to ensure that all your household cleaning products and chemicals should always be kept out of reach of children.

Aufpassen: Baby will mit Putzmittel spielen


Jenny is just one of a number of children in Ireland who have fallen prey to the dangers of liquitabs. In 2014, the National Poison Information Centre (NPIC) received 168 calls in relation to liquitabs; 127 of these for children under three. There were 100 complaints with symptoms, which ranged from mild to moderate. About 90pc of the cases arose from exposure following swallowing, with the remaining 10pc involving contact with the eye.

What to do?

If liquid is swallowed, rinse as much of the detergent as possible from the child’s mouth.

Do not induce vomiting.

If eyes or hands are exposed, rinse them carefully.

If it goes into the eye, wash out for 10 to 15 minutes and go to hospital.

Call a doctor, NPIC on 01-809 2166 or go to your nearest A&E.

Check out hsa.ie or poisons.ie.

Alternatively go to keepcapsfromkids.eu/uk.

For some more information on safety in your home and some First Aid advice please visit our First Aid tips.






A First Aid kit is a must in every car

If you go on holidays to mainland Europe by car you should know that one of the standard requirements is that you carry a First Aid kit with you.

Unfortunately this is not a legal requirement in Ireland yet. However the Irish Independent reported on 14th May 2015 this may change in the near future. The Road Safety Authority hopes an emergency pack containing such items like a First Aid kit, torch, high-vis vest and a warning triangle will be compulsory for new cars by January 1, 2016, and for all existing cars by July 1, 2016.

Not having a First Aid kit in your car could become a penalty-point offence

Not having a First Aid kit in your car could become a penalty-point offence

Small public-service vehicles, such as taxis and hackneys, have had to have such packs since 2009, while buses are currently required to have a fire extinguisher and First Aid kit.
The emergency services say that a number of injuries and fatalities happen each year when a person or vehicle involved in a breakdown is hit by an oncoming vehicle.

Having a First Aid kit in your car can make a huge difference to an injured person in a road traffic accident. It is estimated that the cost for an emergency kit that includes a first-aid kit, torch, high-vis vest and a warning triangle will retail around €40.

This is an investment every car owner in Ireland should undertake even without a threat of penalty points.

We sell a variety of First Aid kits during our public First Aid courses in Dublin. Please contact us if you need more information.

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

Last year we went to visit friends in the North of Germany.

The day we arrived the weather was amazing so we decided to go to the local outdoor swimming pool.

When we got there my wife and I and three of our children were looking for a good spot near the pool while our eldest son, back then 7 years of age, decided to hop into the pool. He wasn’t able to swim at the time but as the deep part of the pool was clearly marked by a big rope we let him off.

Just a minute later, when we were busy unpacking our towels, blankets etc. our son came to us clearly upset and shook up. We were puzzled as he was no more than 5 meters away in the pool and we just left him there for literally a minute.

Our friend Stefan who was a bit behind us when he got to the pool told us what happened

Cian, our son, delighted with himself being first in the water before his older sisters, made his way to the rope that divided the deep pool from the shallow end.

What he didn’t realise was that the slope was very severe and the rope was loose and therefore pushed slightly into the deep end. Cian felt himself slipping into the deep water and felt paralysed.

Thankfully our friend Stefan saw all of this. His daughter attended some intensive swimming lessons where the parents were told how to identify a person who is drowning.

Stefan saw our son helplessly floating on the surface with his neck stretched so that his mouth was sticking out to gasp for air. He quickly jumped in and pulled him to safety.

We were absolutely shocked as we were literally only 5 meters away but completely oblivious to what was going on.

That was a year ago this week. Unfortunately there have been so many young lives lost due to drowning accidents in the last 2 weeks.  Therefore we decided to give you some more information on how to identify the drowning victim and what to do.

Please read the following facts very carefully and never ever leave a child unattended at the pool or beach.  We were very lucky and learned our lesson. Please don’t make the same mistake!

BE PREPARED We provide First Aid Training in Dublin covering CPR and AED if you would like to learn more.

Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.

“Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”


Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck.

Is there one way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

We provide First Aid Training in Dublin covering CPR and AED







Our week: head injury, broken nose and febrile seizure

Thank goodness this week is over!

After teaching several classes my wife also had to practice her skills in the real world. Within the last 6 days we had to deal with a smashed face which included a broken nose, a 7 month old baby having a febrile seizure which lasted over 20 minutes and to top it up a suspected broken finger.

It all started on Monday when my wife and two of her friends met to check out one of the local secondary schools. One of the girls got delayed with the school run. So she ran towards the car where my wife and the other friend waited.

As she almost reached the car her heels slipped on the footpath (thanks to the gravel). She tried to hold onto the car but didn’t get a grip. Instead she went down face first and skidded on the gravel.

They got out of the car and there was blood everywhere. As you can imagine this scene attracted some local attention including some passing Garda who offered her to bring her to hospital.

Instead Siobhan took over. Well equipped with our First Aid kit in our car she cleaned her up as much as she could and drove her to our house. There an icepack was immediately applied and some more cleaning up carried out.

After about an hour, plenty of coffee and reassurance that she didn’t look “too bad” the girls brought her home. One of the last things Siobhan mentioned to her was to keep an eye on  the swelling of her face, headaches, drowsiness and potential vomiting. If in any doubt she should go to the hospital.

At 11pm that night we got a text saying that she was admitted to casualty with a broken nose and suspected head injury as the doctor thought spinal fluid came out of her nose.

After a CT scan it showed there was no apparent skull fracture.

So what did we learn:

  • never ever underestimate a facial injury
  • also monitor for signs of head injuries, i.e. dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, vomiting, fluid exiting from nostrils or ears
  • apply an icepack to minimise swelling
  • if in any doubt attend an A&E department
  • attend one of our Basic First Aid courses which we hold in Dublin every month and be prepared

Our next call of duty came on Wednesday afternoon. Our children were just in the door after returning from an Easter camp. They all sat quietly on the kitchen table (quietly doesn’t happen very often in our house) when the phone rang.

A friend of ours who has also 4 children asked – surprisingly calm – for some First Aid advice for her 7 months old baby who was twitching and became very floppy.

Siobhan ran out of the house and just shouted to me “the baby is having a seizure”.

And she was right. As it turned out the little boy had a bit of the temperature that morning and wasn’t himself. Out of the blue he had a febrile convulsion.

Siobhan timed the event from the second she got the call from the mother. As the seizure lasted for more than 5 minutes she decided to call an ambulance.

The ambulance station is only down the road so the wait was short enough. However when the paramedics arrived the baby had an oxygen saturation of less than 50% (you and I have at least 95%).They administed anti convulsion medication via the nose. Mother and child were brought to hospital for tests and observations.

Thankfully it turned out to be related to the temperature and nothing sinister was found. They were discharged the next morning.

You can read the mother’s own account of what happened on our Facebook page.

What do you take from this story?

  • if your child has a temperature monitor it closely
  • young children can’t express themselves and can take a turn for the worst very quickly
  • a febrile convulsion can be life threatening if you don’t intervene
  • if the seizure lasts for more the  5 minutes call an ambulance
  • attend one of our Paediatric First Aid courses in Dublin and be prepared

The third event of the week was at a local holiday camp for children. One of the children fell backwards and hurt her fingers. One of the leaders asked Siobhan to have a look “just in case”. They were sore but the child was not in any apparent distress.

Siobhan taped the fingers together to give them support and applied an ice pack to reduce the swelling. She told her mum to keep an eye on the swelling and if in any doubt to go to hospital to get an xray done.

As the pain and swelling did not ease after 3 days the mother brought her to Casualty. The xray revealed that one the fingers had a hairline fracture – which is very common in children as their bones are still relatively soft.

Even though this was the most minor incident this week you can still learn something from it.

It’s called RICE – the classic treatment for sprains and strains.

R – rest

I – ice

C – compression

E – elevation

If you are interested in learning more essential First Aid techniques then come and join us at one of our 1 day First Aid courses in Bewleys Hotel Newlands Cross, Dublin.

This week has proven one more time why we always teach “it’s better to know First Aid and not need it than to need it and not know it”

You never know when you will be asked to perform First Aid on a family member or friend!