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Childhood poisoning.

Poisoning in childhood comprises a significant component of injury-related morbidity and mortality. Balme and colleagues5 compare the trends of causative agents over the past two decades at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.

Their study reveals similar trends in causative agents over both two decades, which are comparable with trends in other developing nations. The growth in the number of pesticide incidents is alarming, with marked morbidity and mortality demanding advanced resources. Incidents due to household cleaning products have increased over 20 years. Despite the decrease in incidents due to drugs and paraffin, they remain responsible for almost 60% of new presentations. Although the benefits of simple preventive measures such as child-resistant containers have been shown, paraffin remains the biggest single cause of poisoning.

Although exposures and poisonings by drugs remain a global concern, most drug subgroups cause limited morbidity. This contrasts with the alarming morbidity and mortality associated with traditional medicine in their study.

The study highlights significant suburban differences that provide the opportunity for targeted educational programmes and application of preventive measures such as child-resistant caps, but most importantly advocate for enhanced socio-economic development.

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Title Annotation:Editor's Choice
Publication:South African Medical Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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