From the Journals

Rate of objects ingested by young children increased over last two decades



During 1995-2015, there was a 92% increase in the rate of foreign-body ingestions among children younger than 6 years – from an estimated 9 cases per 10,000 children to 18 cases per 10,000 (R2 = 0.90; P less than .001) – according to an analysis in Pediatrics.

Young child sitting on the floor and putting a coin into a piggy bank. Deepak Sethi/iStock/Getty Images

The analysis was conducted by Danielle Orsagh-Yentis, MD, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and her colleagues. They estimated that, during the study period, 759,074 children younger than 6 years of age were evaluated in U.S. EDs for suspected or confirmed foreign-body ingestions. These estimates were based on data for 29,893 actual cases taken from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which represents about 100 hospitals. Each case in this system is given a sample weight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission using a validated method, and the estimates are based on this weighting.

The analysis showed that children aged 1 year (21%) and boys (53%) were the most likely to ingest foreign bodies. Coins were the most frequently ingested objects, at 62%. Among cases which had the location noted (59%), most ingestions occurred in the home (97%).

The authors noted that, although batteries and magnets represented only 7% and 2% of all cases, respectively, “they can both enact considerable damage when ingested.” For example, despite being only the fourth mostly likely object to be ingested, batteries were the second mostly likely to be implicated among hospitalized patients.

The authors noted that the NEISS captures patients in the ED only; the total number of foreign-body ingestions, then, was likely underestimated. Despite this, the authors felt the long study period and large sample were strengths of their analysis.

Dr. Orsagh-Yentis and her associates disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Orsagh-Yentis D et al. Pediatrics. 2019 Apr 12. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-1988.

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