Gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, and certain other household cleaning products present a high risk for injury or death when children mistake these hydrocarbons for food or drink and ingest the chemical. In a study in the June 2013 Pediatrics, “Pediatric Hydrocarbon-Related Injuries in the United States: 2000-2009,” (published online on May 6), researchers studied data from the National Poison Data System and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System over a ten-year period and found that 66,000 calls were made to regional poison centers, resulting in more than 40,000 emergency department (ED) visits for hydrocarbon-related injuries in children under 5 years of age. Most injuries occur during warm weather months, with 31 percent of exposures being reported during warm months, versus 17 percent to 19 percent reported in the winter months. Most ED visits and calls to poison centers involved boys aged 1 to 2 years swallowing or breathing in gasoline, but most injuries did not require hospitalization. Study authors conclude that, especially in the summer season, parents need to be especially vigilant when using and storing hydrocarbons. These products should be kept out of reach of children, and in their original, child-resistant containers, in order to avoid accidental exposures at home.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)