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Introduction: Poisonings are an important problem in children. Identifying risk factors related with unintentional poisonings can help reduce their incidence and severity. The objective of this study was to define the characteristics of unintentional poisonings in children, with particular attention on drugs and household products.
Materials and Methods: Observational retrospective study performed in a Spanish urban maternity and children’s hospital from June 2012 to December 2014. We reviewed the computerized clinical history of suspected unintentional poisonings in patients under 18 years old, analyzing epidemiological and clinical variables.
Results: 908 patients consulted due to suspected poisoning; in 558 of them (61.4%) the mechanism was unintentional. Males were 55%, and the median age was 2.5 years (IQR: 1.7-4.4). Drugs represented the most frequent group involved (49.6%) followed by household products (37.1%). The main pharmacological group involved was psychotropic drugs. These were the ones which most often associated clinical symptoms, as well as requiring medical treatment and admission. Dose error was more frequent in poisonings due to analgesics than in other groups. Among household products, the main group involved was caustics. Of the 25 detergents involved, 8 were laundry detergent pods. In 17.9 % of the cases the product was out of its packaging. Three patients presented caustic esophagitis, while 2 of them developed stenosis. None of the patients died.
Conclusions: Although poisonings are not frequent, they represent a high risk and may cause persistent sequelae. It is important to insist on well-known preventive measures like correct packaging and careful written prescription.