Evaluation and referral for child maltreatment in pediatric poisoning victims.
ABSTRACT Although the majority of poisonings in young children are due to exploratory ingestions and might be prevented through improved caregiver supervision, the circumstances that warrant evaluation for suspected maltreatment and referral to Child Protective Services (CPS) are unclear. Therefore the objective of this study was to determine the percentage and characteristics of young poisoning victims who were evaluated for child maltreatment by the hospital team (social work and/or child protection team) and/or referred to CPS.
Retrospective study of poisoning victims<6 years old seen at an urban children's hospital from 2006 to 2008. Logistic regression was performed to evaluate the associations between the outcomes (evaluation for maltreatment by hospital team and/or referral to CPS) and predictor variables (demographics and circumstances, type and severity of poisoning).
Among 928 poisonings, 41% were from household products, 20% from over-the-counter drugs, 7% from prescription narcotics/sedatives, 29% from other prescription drugs, and ≤ 1% each from ethanol, illicit drugs, or other substances. Most children were asymptomatic (69%) or stable (28%); 3% were critically ill. Only 13% were evaluated by the hospital team and 4% were referred to CPS. Demographic characteristics were not associated with referral to CPS. Higher clinical severity was associated with increased referral (p<0.001). Compared to poisonings with over-the-counter drugs, referrals were more likely for poisonings with ethanol and prescription narcotics/sedatives, but not other prescription drugs or household products (p<0.001). All illicit drug poisonings and 44% of ethanol poisonings were referred. The majority of referrals to CPS were for concerns for illicit drugs, poor supervision or multiple forms of maltreatment; 6% were secondary to concerns for intentional poisoning.
Evaluations and referrals to CPS for maltreatment are uncommon in young poisoning victims. Referrals occurred consistently for illicit drugs but not ethanol. Although referrals were more likely for higher severity poisonings, it is unclear if the severity of poisoning is associated with the level of supervisory neglect or a marker of ongoing risk to the child. These findings suggest the need to identify risk factors for ongoing harm and the development of clinical guidelines used to determine which poisoning victims should be referred to Child Protective Services.
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ABSTRACT: This office has been recently involved in a case dealing with child custody, where the final outcome was difficult to establish. The following concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in the hair of a 21-month-old girl: 154 (0-1 cm), 198 (1-2 cm), 247 (2-3 cm), and 368 pg/mg (3-4 cm) after decontamination. Obviously, the concentrations measured in the hair were much lower than those observed in patients under daily treatment. In this sense, the frequency of exposures appears as infrequent (low level of exposure), with marked decrease in the more recent period. However, the girl was never prescribed carbamazepine and the mother, who was under carbamazepine therapy, denied any administration. The Judge asked if this could result from a single exposure and at which period. At least, three possible interpretations of the measured carbamazepine concentrations were addressed: (1) decrease in administration in the more recent period; (2) increase of body weight due to growing, so the same dosage will result in lower concentrations in hair; and (3) sweat contamination from the mother at the time the girl is with her in bed, the older hair being in contact longer with the bedding. In this case, it was impossible to conclude that the child was deliberately administered carbamazepine. The results of the analysis of hair could indicate that she was in an environment where carbamazepine was being used and where the drug was not being handled and stored with appropriate care. There are many differences between the hair from children and those from adults: hair from children is thinner and more porous, the ratio anagen and catagen phases are not maintained, and the growth rate can be different, at some periods, from the usual 1 cm/month. These differences, together with the influence of PK-PD parameters are reviewed in this paper, as a basis for suitable interpretation. In view of these results it is proposed that a single hair analysis should not be used firmly to discriminate long-term exposure to a drug when dealing with children. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Drug Testing and Analysis 12/2013; · 2.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The poisoned child presents unique considerations in circumstances of exposure, clinical effects, diagnostic approach, and therapeutic interventions. The emergency provider must be aware of the pathophysiologic vulnerabilities of infants and children and substances that are especially toxic. Awareness is essential for situations in which the risk of morbidity and mortality is increased, such as child abuse by poisoning. Considerations in treatment include the need for attentive supportive care, pediatric implications for antidotal therapy, and extracorporeal removal methods such as hemodialysis in children. In this article, each of these issues and emerging poison hazards are discussed.Emergency medicine clinics of North America 02/2014; 32(1):29-52. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ethanol exposure can affect all pediatric age groups but occurs most commonly in ambulatory children and adolescents. Infants are less likely to ingest ethanol because they have limited ability to explore their environments. However, ethanol exposures in infants can occur. We report the case of a 29-day-old (3.5 kg) baby girl who presented with a blood alcohol level of 301 mg/dL after ingesting formula that had been prepared with gin. To our knowledge, she is the youngest reported child with such an elevated ethanol level in the medical literature. Despite her markedly elevated blood alcohol level, she had an unexpectedly mild clinical course, exhibiting subtle neurologic symptoms but no hypothermia, hypoglycemia, or cardiorespiratory impairment. This case demonstrates that the ethanol-exposed infant may lack typical or clear symptoms of acute intoxication. Therefore, the clinician must have a low threshold for pursuing blood alcohol testing in infants and young children with altered mental status. A prompt diagnosis of ethanol exposure is important for ensuring the health and safety of the child.Pediatric emergency care 02/2014; 30(2):111-3. · 0.92 Impact Factor