We describe the epidemiology of 1918 cases of childhood poisoning referred to the emergency room in Trieste, Italy, from 1975 to 1994. The incidence rare of emergency room referral and subsequent hospital ization was calculated on the basis of the distribution of children resident in Trieste by calendar year. The occurrence of childhood poisoning was described according to time trends, age and gender of the child, route of exposure, symptoms at presentation to the emergency room, role of the child or others, intention, and substance involved in the poisoning. The association between presence of symptoms and characteristics of referral, host factors and substances involved was evaluated by estimating the odds ratio in multivariate models. Possible determinants of the clinical decision to treat certain cases were evaluated using logistic regression. Despite an increasing incidence of referral (from 155 per 100,000 persons per year in 1975-79 to 352 per 100,000 in 1990-94), hospital admission rates showed a two-fold decrease. Younger children (age 0-4 years) were more likely to be asymptomatic and required treatment and hospitalization less often than older children (age ≤ 10 years). Trends show a decrease in pharmaceutical poisonings due probably to the introduction of child-resistant containers and an increase in domestic poisons. We also observed a steady increase in carbon monoxide inhalation and alcohol poisonings, mostly among teenagers.
- Childhood poisoning
- Incidence rate
- Population study
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health