Continuing Medical Education

Prevention of ingestion injuries in children

M Arnold, A B van As, A Numanoglu

Abstract


Accidental caustic and foreign body ingestion by young children lead to a high number of emergency department visits, especially in lower- and middle-income countries. Some of these cause minimal tissue injury or pass spontaneously and uneventfully through the gastrointestinal tract; others may cause major morbidity, or rarely mortality. Increased primary prevention of ingestion through community
awareness and vigilant childcare in addition to legislative steps to ensure a safe environment for these vulnerable members of society are needed. Secondaryprevention of long-term sequelae through timely and appropriate assessment and referral for endoscopy, laparotomy or other treatments can limit morbidity where primary prevention fails. Basic guidelines for management principles are suggested. Social lobby is required to further reform commercial risks to children in addition to creating caregiver awareness of common environmental hazards, particularly in developing countries such as South Africa.


Authors' affiliations

M Arnold, Division of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and University of Cape Town, South Africa

A B van As, Childsafe, Cape Town; and Trauma Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Division of Paediatric Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Numanoglu, Division of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Ingestion injuries; Children; Prevention

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2017;107(3):183-187. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2017.v107i3.12365

Article History

Date submitted: 2017-02-27
Date published: 2017-02-27

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