The Comparison of Accidental Poisonings Between Pharmaceuticals and Nonpharmaceuticals in Children Younger than 3 Years

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Abstract

Introduction

The management of pediatric poisoning is dependent on the type of toxicant ingested; however, little information has been published regarding the difference in poisoning by pharmaceuticals and nonpharmaceuticals in children. We compared the accidental poisoning of children younger than 3 years who had ingested pharmaceuticals or nonpharmaceuticals using emergency medical information center data.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the records of the poisonings of children younger than 3 years who were evaluated by the Seoul Emergency Medical Information Center in 2011. The demographic data and detailed information regarding the poisonings were investigated. The substances that caused the poisonings were divided into the following 2 groups: pharmaceuticals and nonpharmaceuticals, and their characteristics and the differences between the 2 types of poisonings were investigated.

Results

A total of 1279 cases were collected, most of which involved children who were 13 to 24 months old. Boys (51.3%) were involved more than girls. Exposure to nonpharmaceuticals (60.7%) was more common than exposure to pharmaceuticals. Personal care products and respiratory agents were the most commonly implicated substances. There were several significant differences between the pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical groups. Poisoning by pharmaceuticals occurred more frequently in older children and more frequently at night. Although the exact exposure of the children in the pharmaceutical group was known and they required more treatment in the emergency department, they were not given extra immediate first aid than the children in the nonpharmaceutical group.

Conclusions

Because there were several significant differences in the characteristics of accidental pediatric poisonings between the pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical groups, preventive strategies and educational programs should be implemented on the basis of the causative agent.

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