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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2004 October;56(5):541-6

language: Italian

Poisoning in first year of age. A multicentre study

Marchi A. G., Renier S., Valent F.


Aim. The aim of this study is to describe clinical and epidemiological features of toxic exposures in children under 1 year.
Methods. During 2001 a prospective study on poisoning was carried out in the Pediatric Emergency Departments (ED) of 14 hospitals. Information stored concerned epidemiological and clinical features, evaluation of accidental or deliberate manner of exposure as well as of clinical consequences. Data were compared with those registered in 1-4 year-old patients.
Results. During 2001 out of 1 026 children registered, 111 (10.8%) were under 1 year. Exposure occurred exclusively at home and by accident. As compared to 1-4 year-old patients, children exposures were more frequently due to parental errors (38.7% of cases vs 7.3%), and involved plant poisons (22.5% vs 7.3%). In 1/3 of these cases the cause was due to non-toxic exposures, in another 1/3 an early treatment avoided clinical consequences. In the other cases, symptoms were of low to moderate severity, only in 1 case they were serious. No deaths occurred. One out of every 3 children was admitted, the others were sent home directly from ED (23.4%) or after a short observation period (44.1%).
Conclusion. The increase in poisoning in children under 1 year, as compared to previous multicentre studies, is deserving of concern. In spite of the relatively low severity they are completely preventable. The study shows that information on poisons prevention for parents needs to be improved to prevent exposure of children under 1 year to toxic substances at home.

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