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Facts About Childhood Poisoning

Facts About Childhood Poisoning

Facts About Childhood Poisoning.

  • About 60 to 65% of calls to the New Zealand National Poisons Centre relate to children aged under 5 years
  • Children aged 1 to 3 years are the most likely age group to be poisoned
  • About 20% of families with pre-school children will experience at least one poisoning incident each year
  • Most poisonings occur in the child's own home
  • Slightly more boys (57%) than girls are poisoned
  • Early morning and late afternoon are peak poisoning times

What Are The Reasons For Poisoning In Children?

  • Children are curious about taste, texture, smell of different things, this is how they learn
  • Children often think poisons or medicines are lollies or food
  • Children mimic adults and often think they are "helping" by cleaning, or taking medicines
  • Products are not put away straight after use
  • Products are not stored or labeled properly
  • Children are not supervised properly
  • Caregivers don't pre-empt child's changing ability to climb and reach
  • Caregivers are not aware of how poisonous some products are

What Are Children Most Commonly Poisoned With?

Of the calls relating to under 5 year olds over the last year, the following top 25 substances are listed below:

1 Paracetamol
2 Multivitamins
3 Silica gel
4 Oral contraceptives
5 Ibuprofen
6 Dishwashing liquid
7 Diclofenac
8 Air freshener
9 Black nightshade
10 Claratyne
11 All purpose cleaner
12 Dimetapp
13 Arum lily
14 Mushrooms
15 Thyroxine
16 Mercury thermometer
17 Essential oils
18 Glow stick
19 Bleach
20 Homeopathic preparations
21 Fly spray
22 Amoxycillin
23 Augmentin
24 Perfume
25 Toothpaste




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University of Otago NZ National Poisons Centre


Last updated 05/09/2007



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