Unintentional poisoning in young children: does developmental stage predict the type of substance accessed and ingested?
Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Child: Care, Health and Development
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 50–59, January 2014
How to Cite
Schmertmann, M., Williamson, A. and Black, D. (2014), Unintentional poisoning in young children: does developmental stage predict the type of substance accessed and ingested?. Child: Care, Health and Development, 40: 50–59. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01424.x
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 MAR 2012
- Centre for Epidemiology and Research at the NSW Ministry of Health
- odds ratios;
- preschool child
When children aged 0–4 years are analysed together as a group for poisoning risk, important differences for smaller age intervals by medicinal and non-medicinal substances are masked. These differences have been attributed to child developmental stages but no studies have been conducted that examine the predictive value of child developmental stage for poisoning by substance type, using 3-month age intervals as a proxy for developmental stage and adjusting for the effect of sex, socio-economic status and remoteness of residence.
A population-based dataset of unintentional poisoning hospitalizations in children aged 0–4 years was used to predict the type of substance ingested. Associations between the type of substance and age, sex, socio-economic status and remoteness of residence were measured using multivariate logistic regression.
Children aged 12–17 months had significantly higher odds of experiencing a non-medicinal poisoning while children aged 24–41 months had significantly higher odds of experiencing a medicinal poisoning. Males and children from more disadvantaged and outer regional areas had higher odds of experiencing a non-medicinal poisoning.
Children aged 0–4 years differ in their stage of development and as a consequence, vary significantly in their ability to access their environment. Our results clearly show that odds of poisoning by medicinal substances compared with non-medicinal substances change as children age. This study provides evidence that child development predicts the type of substance accessed and ingested.