Predictors of unintentional poisoning among children under 5 years of age in karachi: A matched case-control study

Bilal Ahmed, Zafar Fatmi, Amna R. Siddiqui, Abdul L. Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Poisoning is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury and a common paediatric emergency in children under 5 years of age. The objective of this study was to determine the factors associated with unintentional poisoning among children under 5 years of age presenting to emergency rooms at tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan. Setting Children were recruited from the emergency rooms of the three biggest tertiary care hospitals in Karachi. Design A matched caseecontrol study was conducted on 120 cases and 360 controls, with matching done on gender and age. Parents were interviewed using a structured questionnaire containing information on sociodemographic factors, the child's behaviour, and the storage practices of hazardous substances of caregivers in the homes. Conditional logistic regression was performed to analyse the data. Results Accessibility to hazardous chemicals and medicines due to unsafe storage (adj mOR1/45.6, 95% CI 1.9 to 16.7), child's behaviour reported as usually aggressive (adj mOR1/48.2, 95% CI 4.6 to 16.1), storage of kerosene oil and petrol in soft drink bottles (adj mOR1/43.8, 95% CI 2.0 to 7.3), low socioeconomic status (adj mOR1/49.2, 95% CI 2.8 to 30.1), low level of mother's education (adj mOR1/44.2, 95% CI 1.8 to 9.6), and history of previous poisoning (adj mOR1/48.6, 95% CI 1.7 to 43.5) were independently related to unintentional poisoning. Conclusion The practice of storing kerosene and petroleum in soft drink bottles and the easy accessibility of chemicals and medicines are potentially modifiable. Health messages focusing on the safe storage of chemicals and medicines and the use of child resistant containers may play a key role in decreasing the burden of childhood poisoning in Karachi, Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalInjury Prevention
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


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