Young kids have a tendency to put things in their mouth. While many items are not harmful, some are fatal and cause injury. A recent study has found that the rate of foreign body ingestions per 10,000 children increased by 91.5 per cent from 9.5 in 1995 to 18 in 2015.
The study published in the journal 'Pediatrics' found that more than 759,000 children younger than six years were estimated to have been evaluated for foreign body ingestions in emergency departments over the 21-year study period.
The number of estimated cases among children under six nearly doubled from about 22,000, or about 61 per day in 1995 to nearly 43,000, or 118 per day in 2015.
"The dramatic increase in foreign body injuries over the 21-year study period, coupled with the sheer number and profundity of injuries is cause for concern," said Danielle Orsagh-Yentis, lead author of the study. Continued advocacy and product regulations are needed to keep children safe, and the data shows that vigilance, advocacy and regulations are effective.
Foreign body ingestions most frequently involved children between one to three years of age (62 per cent). Coins were the most frequent type of objects ingested (62 per cent), followed by toys (10 per cent), jewellery (7 per cent), and batteries (7 per cent). Just over 10 per cent of children were admitted to the hospital as a result of their ingestion.
While batteries represented only 7 per cent of all cases, they can do considerable damage when ingested. This increase is of concern because battery ingestions increased 150-fold over the study period. Button batteries, found in everyday items like toys, key fobs, and greeting cards, represented 86 per cent of battery ingestions.
Consumer groups, healthcare providers, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have attempted to make toys, batteries, and magnets safer for children.
Since 2008, the CPSC's Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requires manufacturers to take certain precautions in toys for young children including securing batteries and banning toys that fit in a choke-test cylinder.
Recommendations for prevention of foreign body ingestions by both the AAP and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) include:
Safe storage: Store small items, especially button batteries, high-powered magnets, and loose change up, away, and out of sight.
Check the age recommendations: Labels on a toy's packaging can tell you if a toy is appropriate for your child's age. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for assembly and use.
How to get help: If you think your child may have ingested a foreign body, first call your paediatrician or poison control. If you think your child may have ingested a button battery or high-powered magnet, go to your local emergency department as quickly as possible.
Advocates and manufacturers:
Ensure child-resistant packaging is utilised and work to keep particularly dangerous products off the market.
Data for this study were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database, which is maintained by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. (ANI)