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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 August;64(4):371-6

language: English

Risk posed to children by stationery items in the upper airways

Foltran F. 1, Caruso G. 2, Gregori D. 3, Pitkäranta A. 4, Slapak I. 5, Jakubíková J. 6, Passali G. C. 7, Bellussi L. 2, Passali D. 2

1 Department of Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
2 Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena, Siena, Italy;
3 Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy;
4 Helsinki University Central Hospital,Helsinki, Finland;
5 Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat Department, Children University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic;
6 Pediatric Otolaryngology Department, Medical Faculty of Comenius University, Bratislava, Czech Republic;
7 Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic, , Policlinico A. Gemelli, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy


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AIM: The aim of the present study is to characterize the risk of complications and prolonged hospitalization due to stationery items according to age and gender of patients, FB characteristics and foreign body (FB) location, circumstances of the accident, as emerging from the ESFBI study.
METHODS: A retrospective study in major hospitals of 19 European countries was realized on children aged 0-14 having inhaled/aspired or ingested a stationery item. In the years 2000-2003 a total of 2094 FB injuries occurred in children aged 0-14 years. The characteristics of the child, the FB consistency and the occurrence of complications were analyzed.
RESULTS: Among FB injuries, 62 (3%) were due to a stationery item: 32 were due to objects insertion in the ears while 30 occurred in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Objects most frequently involved are parts of pens in children younger than 3 years and eraser in older. 39% of children needed hospitalization. The most documented complication was inflammation of external ear. Almost 24% of injuries happened under adults’ supervision.
CONCLUSION: Injuries are events that in many cases can be prevented with appropriate strategies. Passive environmental strategies, including product modification by manufacturers, are the most effective. Our study testifies that stationary is involved in a non negligible percentage of FB injuries. This results confirm the fact that when passive preventive strategies are not practical, active strategies that promote behaviour change are necessary and information about this issue should be included in all visits to family pediatricians.

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d.passali@virgilio.it