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Child poisoning prevention [Position paper, 2015]

Child poisoning prevention [Position paper, 2015]

Children are naturally inquisitive, and learning by exploring their environment is an integral and important part of a child’s growth and development. They are uniquely vulnerable in their potential to experience unintentional poisoning, due to their changing developmental skills, and their bodies’ inability to withstand the effects of toxins. Unfortunately children aged 0-14 years are too young to differentiate between safe and unsafe substances and can poison themselves through innocent exploration of their environment, with little concept of the potential danger to themselves. Consequently children are reliant on adults to ensure their safety and wellbeing This is a Practitioner Focused Resource. Poisoning prevention resources that are suitable for Parents and caregivers are "Mistaken Identity" and the "Keep Kids Safe from Poisoning" series of posters and Pamphlets.

The number of deaths from unintentional poisoning in children has reduced both nationally and internationally over time, and is attributed to multiple factors including education, identification of poisonous substances and products, product modification, the emergence of child resistant packaging, with associated packaging standard development, supportive legislative changes and the advent of poison control centres. Despite this, Poisoning remains one of the major causes of childhood injury in New Zealand. In the time period 2004-2011 a total of 13 children aged 0-14 years died as a result of unintentional poisonings. In the period 2006-2013 hospitalisations as a result of poisoning was the third most common reason children aged zero to four years were hospitalised due to an injury.

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