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Young kids poisoned

Over 4,300 children under the age of 10 were poisoned last year, with drugs, industrial chemicals and household products the biggest culprits, a new report has found.

According to the 2005 Annual Report of the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC), poisons information officers answered over 9,200 enquiries from healthcare professionals and the general public last year. The vast majority of these enquiries related to human poisoning.

Almost half of these cases related to children aged nine and under, with over 3,600 cases relating to children in the one to four age group alone.

The report noted that most cases of poisoning took place in the home and almost 15,000 different agents were involved. As with previous years, most cases involved drugs, industrial chemicals and household products. However other agents included cosmetics, personal hygiene products and plants.

"Drugs were most frequently ingested by all age groups. However the majority of cases involving household products, cosmetic and personal hygiene products and plants were children under the age of 10", the report said.

Some of the more common agents involved in cases of poisoning included paracetamol, bleach liquid, disinfectant, white spirit, fabric cleaning liquid, aftershave/perfume, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid and nail varnish remover.

The NPIC followed up 177 cases, 138 of whom fully recovered. However 14 patients died as a result of being poisoned.