Epidemiology and prevention of caustic ingestion in children

Acta Paediatr. 1994 Feb;83(2):212-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1994.tb13053.x.


A total of 102 children less than 16 years of age admitted for caustic ingestion in the period 1976-1991 were registered. The annual incidence rate of hospitalization was 10.8:100,000 for the city of Aarhus, Denmark. Esophageal burns occurred with a frequency of 5.0:100,000 per year. Ninety-four percent of the children were less than 5 years old. For this age group, the incidence rates of admission and esophageal burns were 34.6:100,000 and 15.8:100,000, respectively. All ingestions were accidental. The incidence rates of esophageal burns in children 0-4 years old (p = 0.019) decreased significantly during the period studied. The cause of this decrease is not clear, but a change in the spectrum of household products and the gradual introduction of child-proof caps are possible explanations. To minimize the frequency of accidents, an information campaign directed specifically at parents of toddlers is recommended. Information material should stress that caustics should always be inaccessible to children and stored separately, and should never be decanted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Burns, Chemical / epidemiology*
  • Burns, Chemical / etiology
  • Burns, Chemical / prevention & control
  • Caustics / administration & dosage
  • Caustics / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Esophageal Stenosis / chemically induced
  • Esophageal Stenosis / epidemiology*
  • Esophageal Stenosis / prevention & control
  • Esophagus / injuries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male


  • Caustics