Journal Article

US poison control center calls for infants 6 months of age and younger.

Kang AM; Brooks DE.

Pediatricians commonly advise parents to keep medications and chemicals inaccessible to their young children to avoid accidental ingestions. With the assumption that infants will not be mobile enough to access potentially harmful substances, providers typically begin these conversations with parents when children are age 6 months. This retrospective study reviewed 10 years of calls to poison control centers for infants younger than 6 months. Nearly 97% of the 271,513 exposures were unintentional. Half were coded as "general unintentional," which includes exploratory exposures and other scenarios leading to access, such as a sibling providing a substance to the child. Therapeutic errors, such as dosing mistakes, accounted for another 37% of exposures. Some parents self-triaged to a health care facility prior to speaking to poison control, which may be due to unawareness among parents of young infants about the availability of poison control consultation. The authors suggest this study may help guide future poison education and prevention efforts.