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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


ARNOLD, M; VAN AS, A B  and  NUMANOGLU, A. Prevention of ingestion injuries in children. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2017, vol.107, n.3, pp.183-187. ISSN 2078-5135.

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. Secondary prevention 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.

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