Poisoning in a paediatric hospital

  • F Sharif
  • RA Khan
  • P Keenan
Original Paper


Background Poisoning is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children and adolescents. Pharmaceutical and household products are responsible for the majority of cases.

Aim To analyse poisoning cases presenting to a paediatric hospital.

Methods A retrospective study of all poisoning cases presenting to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of one hospital over a nine-month period. Children from birth to 15 years of age were included. The cases were categorised into accidental or intentional with or without suicidal intention. Demographic features included age, gender, toxin, location of poisoning, need for admission and mortality.

Results A total of 148 cases were recorded, 47% were male, 31% were hospitalised and there was no mortality. Of ingestions, 74% were between 1 and 4 years of age and 86% were accidental. Of the intentional, 33% were suicidal, all 12 years or older.

Conclusions Few unintentional ingestions in the paediatric group result in serious toxicity. Mortality is rare. There is increasing intentional poisoning and alcohol abuse in adolescents. Poison prevention should be part of all well child visits. Agencies catering for children should carry educational leaflets for parents on how to ‘poison proof’ a child’s environment, as the majority of incidents occur at home.


Poisoning Case Accidental Ingestion Poison Control Centre Accidental Poisoning Child Visit 
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Copyright information

© Springer London 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Accident and Emergency DepartmentThe Children’s University HospitalDublinIreland
  2. 2.Johnstown, Navan, Co MeathIreland

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