Poisoning represents a major health problem among children. It is among the top leading causes of death and disability among children. Despite the critical role of parents in implementation of any preventive measures of poisoning, data assessing the awareness of parents about childhood poisoning are very limited. is good solution for bed occupancy in hospitals.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of childhood poisoning among families attending Alwazarat family medicine center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, to determine awareness of the parents about the causes and risk factors of childhood poisoning.
Methods: Observational cross-sectional design has been conducted between October and December 2020 among parents attending Alwazarat healthcare center. The target was fathers and mothers with at least one child under 6 years. The data were collected using a self-completed questionnaire. It included data on socio-demographic characteristics of parents, information about the child who had poisoning, information about the child poisoning incident, and parents’ opinions about the causes and risk factors of child poisoning in general.
Results: A total 236 parents were included in this analysis. The mean age was 36.0±8.1 years and 69.1% of the parents were fathers. Approximately 92.3% of the parents were married and only 7.7% were divorced or separated. A total 10 (4.2%) parents reported having one of their children had poisoning. Approximately 70% of the children who had poisoning required care at emergency department and 10% required hospitalization. None of the incidents was fatal. The poisoning incidents were caused by medications (40%), pesticide/insecticides (40%), and house-cleaning product (20%). Potential causes of poisoning included lack of child supervision in 50% of the incidents and lack of child-resistant cover of the storage container in 20%. The mean awareness score among parents was 69.6%. The highly acknowledged causes and risk factors of childhood poisoning included unsafe storage of household chemicals (97.4%), unsafe storage of medicines (96.2%), presence of poisons in the neighborhood/home garden (95.8%), and inadequate space in the house (90.7%). The least acknowledged causes and risk factors of childhood poisoning included lack of social support from community (29.8%), poor education of mother (30.6%), lack of family support (30.6%), poor behavior of mother (31.6%), and single-parent living status (33.9%). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, living in houses with larger number of rooms and smaller number of family members were significantly associated with higher awareness level.
Conclusions: The prevalence of childhood poisoning was 4.2% among families seeking primary care services in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The finding indicate inadequate knowledge level of parents about childhood poisoning. There is urgent need for increasing public awareness on home safety measures to reduce the risk of childhood poisoning.