Background/Aims It is a general notion that accidental poison ingestions in children seldom happen under parental supervision. Our objective was to compare the doctors’ perceptions of supervision with the parental recall of the actual events.
Methods Pediatricians were recruited for a short survey and asked using Likert scale if they agree/disagree that children are more likely to ingest harmful substances when supervised by their parents. Parents of the children who had been seen in the ER (emergency room) in the preceding 3–13 months with accidental poison ingestion were called and asked who first discovered the child ingest a harmful substance. The answers were compared using frequency bar plotting to get the percentage of responses and referenced against the documented medical records.
Results 107 doctors out of 136 approached responded to this question item. 71 mothers were willing to talk about their experience from the 100 parents. 13 physicians out of 107 (12%) believed that children were more likely to ingest harmful substance when they are supervised by their parents. From the 71 parents interviewed 51(72%) recalled that either the mother or the father or both were present when the child ingested a harmful substance. From the hospital record 86 out of 101 cases (85%) documented parent/s as witnesses. The difference between the physicians’ perceptions and the parental record plus the hospital data was significant (p=0.000, CI 95% 1.75–2.09).
Conclusion Parental supervision is not a 24/7 surveillance and in itself not an adequate strategy in preventing accidental poison ingestions.