Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Accidental Ingestions in Children: Observational Study

Author(s): Hussain Sadeq, Entesar H Husain, Farah Almutawa, Wafa’a Al-Qabandi, Talal AlSaleem

Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic on March 2020. Several measures have been attempted to contain the spread of the virus including school closures and lockdown. These measures have resulted in children staying at home with potential hazard exposure such as accidental drug or foreign body ingestions. In this study, we investigate the impact of COVID-19-related measures on admissions of children with accidental foreign body or drug ingestion. All accidental ingestion admissions to pediatric wards at Al-Amiri hospital during the pandemic from March 2020 till February 2021 were retrospectively reviewed. They were compared with admission data from the pre-pandemic period from March 2019 till February 2020. There were 90 admission with accidental ingestion during the pandemic compared to 138 admissions in the pre pandemic period. The mean age of admission during non-COVID-19 period was 3.9 ± 2.6 years, and 4.1 ± 2.9 years during pandemic period. The most common cause of accidental ingestion in children in both periods was medication ingestion. Coin ingestion was the second common cause during the pandemic compared to detergent in the pre-pandemic period. During COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in hospitalization with accidental ingestion. However, this should emphasize the significance of family availability and constant observation of children at home as an important safety measure.

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