Background Acute poisoning events represent a special problem for pediatricians, due to their frequency and gravity. The frequency has been increasing since 2000 and in Europe it is considered that they represent one of the most important reasons for hospitalization. It is thought that acute intoxication of children represents a “family disease” and can be included with “neglected and abused children” syndrome.
Objective To determine the frequency, etiology and type of poisoning in pediatric patients admitted to a tertiary care unit.
Method We studied 334 children aged 3 months–16 years, hospitalized in PICU, Clinical Emergency Hospital of Constanta, Romania, with acute poisoning in 2006–2007.
Results The number of cases was over 40 times lower then the total number of children hospitalized (2.24%). According to age, patients between 1 and 6 years were more likely to have an intoxication (37.72%), followed by children between 11–16 years (28.74%). The majority of cases were due to known substances (91.02%). Most of them were accidentally produced (66.16%). Drugs were most often the problem (68.86%), such as benzodiazepines (19%), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (17%), phenotiazines (13%), ferrous sulfate (12%) barbiturates (6%), beta-blockers (8%) and non-identified drugs (16%). Multiple drug ingestion was seen in 29.57% of cases. Among other toxic substances, ethyl alcohol was a frequent problem (10.17%), raising an alarming question concerning the use of alcohol in children.
Conclusion It is recommended that parents are better informed of the risks that come along with ready at hand substances and drugs that normally are unavailable to children.
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