[Poisoning in children under age 7 in Spain. Areas of improvement in the prevention and treatment]

An Pediatr (Barc). 2013 Jun;78(6):355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2012.09.016. Epub 2012 Nov 6.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: To prevent acute poisoning in children we need to know in which circumstances they occur.

Objective: To analyse the circumstances of poisoning in children under 7 years-old and the management of these children in Spanish Paediatric Emergency Departments (SPED).

Material and methods: We perform a prospective study of charts of poisoned children less than 7 years admitted to 44 hospitals between 2008 and 2011.

Results: A total of 400 poisoned children were recorded: 308 (77%) in children under 7 years, of whom 23 (7.5%) of them had previous episodes of poisoning in the family. More than half (230) occurred at home, mainly due to accidental ingestion (89.6%), of drugs (182, 59%), household products (75, 24.4%), and cosmetics (18, 5.8%). More than one-third (36.6%) contacted other departments before the patient reached SPED. A total of 160 (51.9%) were treated in the hospital, and 45.4% were admitted in the hospital. None of them died. Drug poisoning required complementary tests more often (48.9% vs. 32% household products, and 11.1% cosmetics, P<.05), more treatments (64.8% vs. 36% and 16.6%, P<.0001) and more admissions (54.9% vs. 37.3% and 5.5%, P=.015), and 12.1% were not due to accidental ingestion but dosage errors (vs. 2.6% and 0%, P<.05). Household product poisonings were more often related with storage in non-original packaging and being reachable by children.

Conclusions: The most frequent poisonings seen in SPED were caused by the accidental ingestion of drugs and household products by children less than 7 years-old at home. Drug poisoning was potentially more risky. Drug and household product storage education, proper drug dosage and administration, and good advice are the main issues to prevent these poisonings.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Poisoning / etiology
  • Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Poisoning / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spain