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Kids’ chemical injuries down, but may rise in summer

Kids’ chemical injuries down, but may rise in summer

Injuries from gasoline, lamp oil and similar chemicals have dropped considerably among small children in the last decade, according to a new study.

“It seems to decline right around 2000, 2001. That’s when the Consumer Products Safety Commission mandated products be placed in child-resistant packaging,” said Dr. Heath Jolliff, the study’s lead author and associate medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Summertime, however, brings extra risk for exposure to these types of poisonings, especially among toddlers.

“The kind of gasoline (used) with the lawnmowers, (fuel for) tiki torches and that sort of thing – because of the access, (children) get the exposure,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chief of Clinical Toxicology at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

Fuels such as lamp oil for tiki torches, kerosene for camping stoves and gasoline, as well as turpentine and some lubricants are all hydrocarbons – a category of dangerous liquids that is the third leading cause of children’s poisoning deaths, Jolliff and his colleagues write in the journal Pediatrics.

“We had had a child in our hospital who had been exposed to a hydrocarbon and was very ill. And I said, ‘let’s look at this subcategory since they tend to be very dangerous,'” Jolliff told Reuters Health.

To get a sense of broader trends in injuries resulting from these chemicals, the researchers gathered information from two large databases spanning the 10 years from 2000 through 2009.

One database includes emergency department records from about 100 hospitals across the U.S. The other has phone calls made to 57 regional poison control centers.

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