Poisonings Overview


  • Involves children aged 0-4 with 2-3 year olds at greatest risk of pharmaceutical poisonings.

  • More boys (57%) than girls are poisoned.

  • Three-quarters of all poisonings occur in the child’s own home.

  • Consists of a prescription drug or “over-the-counter” (OTC) product located below one metre in height or within sight of the child.

  • Occurs whilst under the supervision of a caregiver, but not in direct sight and entails a product not stored safely at the time of the incident.*

  • Poisonings cost the Australian healthcare system between AU$100-400 million annually.

  • Poisonings were the second leading cause of injury-related mortality, costing US$12.6 billion annually, within the United States in 2001.

  • Of all children admitted to hospital as a result of poisonings, 88% are under 5.

       * (Based on several surveys of poisoning cases seen at Auckland Hospitals and A&Es during 1992-1994)





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