Prevention of childhood poisoning in the home: overview of systematic reviews and a systematic review of primary studies

Persephone M. Wynn (Lead Author), Kun Zou, Ben Young, Gosia Majsak-Newman, Adrian Hawkins, Bryony Kay, Jacqueline Mhizha-Murira, Denise Kendrick

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Unintentional poisoning is a significant child public health problem. This systematic overview of reviews, supplemented with a systematic review of recently published primary studies synthesizes evidence on non-legislative interventions to reduce childhood poisonings in the home with particular reference to interventions that could be implemented by Children's Centres in England or community health or social care services in other high income countries. Thirteen systematic reviews, two meta-analyses and 47 primary studies were identified. The interventions most commonly comprised education, provision of cupboard/drawer locks, and poison control centre (PCC) number stickers. Meta-analyses and primary studies provided evidence that interventions improved poison prevention practices. Twenty eight per cent of studies reporting safe medicine storage (OR from meta-analysis 1.57, 95% CI 1.22–2.02), 23% reporting safe storage of other products (OR from meta-analysis 1.63, 95% CI 1.22–2.17) and 46% reporting availability of PCC numbers (OR from meta-analysis 3.67, 95% CI 1.84–7.33) demonstrated significant effects favouring the intervention group. There was a lack of evidence that interventions reduced poisoning rates. Parents should be provided with poison prevention education, cupboard/drawer locks and emergency contact numbers to use in the event of a poisoning. Further research is required to determine whether improving poison prevention practices reduces poisoning rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-28
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • poisoning
  • childhood
  • unintentional injuries
  • prevention
  • home

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