BACKGROUND: Anticipatory guidance and prevention efforts to decrease poisonings in young children have historically focused on restricting access to minimize exploratory ingestions. Because infants through 6 months of age have limited mobility, such exposures are expected to be less frequent and therapeutic (or dosing) errors should be more frequent. Although recent prevention efforts target some types of therapeutic errors, the epidemiology of these exposures is not well characterized in this age group. This could have important implications for the effectiveness of current prevention efforts.
METHODS: A 10-year (2004–2013) retrospective review of exposure calls for infants through 6 months of age was conducted on National Poison Data System files.
RESULTS: A total of 271 513 exposures were reported, of which 96.7% were unintentional. Of these, the most common reasons were general unintentional (50.7%), which includes exploratory exposures, and therapeutic error (36.7%). Among the latter, 47.0% involved quantitative dosing errors (a different amount than intended) and 42.8% involved nonquantitative dosing errors (a medication given twice or too soon, the wrong medication, or wrong route). Most exposures (97.5%)occurred in the home but only 85.2% of calls came from the home;80.4% ofself-referrals to a healthcare facility were not admitted.
CONCLUSIONS: General unintentional (including exploratory) exposures and therapeutic errors both comprise a large proportion of calls in this age group. Among therapeutic errors, quantitative and nonquantitative dosing errors are equally concerning. There areappreciablenumbers of patients presenting to healthcare prior topoison centerconsultation. These data can help target future anticipatory guidance and prevention measures.
- Accepted November 16, 2015.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics