Kids ER visits rise

Modesto Morganelli
Апреля 14, 2019

If a child swallows more than one, the magnets can tear holes in the stomach lining to get to one another. Coins and small toys or toy parts were identified as the most common objects swallowed accidentally by children younger than 6 years old.

Researchers have discovered a worrying trend.

A growing number of American children are being treated in emergency rooms after swallowing foreign objects like coins, toys, and jewelry, a US study suggests.

Because the study looked only at children who were seen in ERs, the authors say the results may underestimate the total number of children who swallow objects; they may also see their primary care doctors or urgent care centers, or call poison control and be instructed to stay home. In comparison, in 2015, the number jumped to 43,000.

Researchers examined data on 29,893 kids under six years old who were treated in emergency rooms nationwide for "foreign object ingestion" between 1995 and 2015.

But the rates of emergency department visits for these ingestions - the majority (about 62%) of which were coins - increased 91.5%, from 9.4 per 10,000 children in 1995 to 17.9 per 10,000 in 2015. On the basis of those cases, researchers estimated that 759,074 young children visited the ER for foreign object injection during this two-decade timespan.

"Children in this age group are prone to putting objects in their mouths", the authors explained, adding children are enticed by the colors, shapes and sizes of various objects.

Only 10 percent of all children who were brought to emergency room visits for foreign object ingestion were admitted to the hospital for longer observations. It is followed by toys, jewelry, and batteries.

Orsagh-Yentis noted that an increasing number of consumer products use potentially risky button-sized batteries, including TV remotes, digital thermometers and remote-controlled toys, which likely contributed to the increase.

"The sheer number of these injuries is cause for concern", said lead study author Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "Continued advocacy and product regulations are needed to keep children safe, and the data shows that vigilance, advocacy and regulations are effective".

The researchers told parents to immediately go to the hospital if their children have ingested a foreign object, especially batteries or magnets.

"Coins, jewelry, small toys, button batteries, and magnets are commonly ingested because they are small enough to fit in a child's mouth", Okada, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

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