Aim: To study the current epidemiology, clinical course and outcome of poisonings among children in Oslo and compare findings to a similar study from 1980.
Methods: Observational study with prospective inclusion of all children (<15 years of age) with a main diagnosis of acute poisoning treated in hospital or outpatient clinic in Oslo for 2 years.
Results: One hundred seventy-five episodes of acute poisoning were included at the outpatient clinic only (n = 65), the paediatric department only (n = 82) or both (n = 28 referrals). Annual incidence was 97 per 100 000, significantly lower than in 1980 (230 per 100 000). Highest incidence was in 1-year-old males (576 per 100 000). In children <8 years of age, the most common toxic agents were pharmaceuticals (39%) and household products (32%); children > or = 8 years ingested mainly ethanol (46%) or pharmaceuticals (36%). Five percent of all children were comatose, and complications were seen in 13%. All children survived without sequelae. Half of the admissions needed treatment; most commonly used treatments were activated charcoal (33%), gastric lavage (9%) and emetics (9%).
Conclusion: The incidence of child poisonings in Oslo has significantly reduced since 1980. Only half of the poisonings needed treatment, most of the poisonings were mild and the clinical outcome was good.