Key findings

  • An estimated number of 14,339 young children were hospitalised as a result of poisoning during the period 1999-00 to 2003-04.
  • Rates of hospitalised poisoning injury were highest at the age of two years (males 366 and females 338 poisoning admissions per 100,000 population).
  • The risk of poisoning from pharmaceutical substances was higher at all ages when compared to the risk of poisoning from non-pharmaceutical substances.
  • Maximum rates of hospitalisation occurred at the age of two years for pharmaceutical substances and one year for non- pharmaceutical substances.
  • Paracetamol was the most common pharmaceutical poisoning diagnosed in one and two year old children.
  • Twenty-five per cent of non-pharmaceutical poisoning admissions in children aged two years and older were due to poisoning from noxious bites from arthropods such as spiders, bees and wasps.
  • Over half of the children poisoned by solvents, pesticides and plants were one-year old or younger.
  • The most common place for poisoning to occur in young children was in the home or in adjacent grounds.