How safe are our children in our own homes? accidental ingestion in children: a 6 year retrospective study from a tertiary care centre

Sujay Kumar Earan, Revathi Krishnakumar, Sivaraman Sangili, Arulkumaran Arunagirinathan, Duvvur Preethika Reddy, Uma Maheshwari R.


Background: According to the World Health statistics, in 2016 more than 100000 deaths were caused due to unintentional poisonings. Children are vulnerable due to their smaller body surface area, an inherent behaviour of negation, curiosity in exploring their surroundings, their initial phallic stage where they tend to put any objects they come across into their mouth.

Methods: This study is a hospital based retrospective observational study where the records of all the children admitted due to poisoning, accidental or intentional from June 2012 to November 2018 were reviewed. All the children admitted due to food poisoning and idiosyncratic drug reactions were excluded from the study.

Results: A total of 203 cases of accidental ingestion were admitted during the study period, of which the majority of the patients were male children. The age group varied from 5 months to 14 years. Majority of the accidental ingestions were due to kerosene (108), followed by insecticides (25) and cleaning agents (20).

Conclusions: Poisoning in young children is unintentional and accidental; hence the introduction of safe child resistant containers should be encouraged in storing harmful chemicals. Knowledge about the chemicals, awareness about their hazardous effects and education of the care givers about safe storage would be the first step in the prevention of accidental ingestion. Establishment of a reporting system from all the health care centres and establishment of poison information system at all the levels is the need of the hour.


Kerosene, Pediatric, Poisoning, Prevention

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