Home safety hazards associated with unintentional poisoning among children aged 0-5 years in Mongolia: A case-control study

Trop Med Int Health. 2024 Apr;29(4):273-279. doi: 10.1111/tmi.13971. Epub 2024 Jan 16.


Objective: To examine the association between home safety hazards and unintentional poisoning in children in Mongolia.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study using structured questionnaires to investigate safety behaviours, safety equipment use, and home hazards in households with or without children aged 0-5 years who had suffered from poisoning at home (i.e., cases and controls). We recruited 190 cases (105 medicinal and 84 non-medicinal poisonings, and one each) at the National Center for Maternal and Child Health and 379 controls in the communities between 1 March and 30 October 2021.

Results: There were large differences between cases' and controls' households in safety behaviours and home hazards: the failure to store all medicines out of reach of children (68% of cases vs. 25% of controls), the failure to store all medicines safely (out of reach, locked or non-existent) (61% vs. 22%), the failure to put all medicines away immediately after use (77% vs. 43%), the presence of things that a child could climb on to reach high surfaces (82% vs. 67%), the presence of medicines transferred into different containers (28% vs. 9%) and the presence of household products transferred into different containers (28% vs. 16%). These home safety hazards were strongly associated with poisoning after controlling for confounders.

Conclusion: Children's risk of unintentional poisoning was strongly associated with the unsafe storage of potentially poisonous agents by caregivers and home hazards. Since unsafe storage is widespread, a fail-safe approach such as child-resistant closure of medicines and household products should be considered.

Keywords: child; home safety; paediatric; unintentional poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mongolia
  • Poisoning* / epidemiology
  • Protective Devices*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires