What is the prevalence of pediatric foreign body ingestion in the US?

Updated: Oct 04, 2018
  • Author: Gregory P Conners, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAP, FACEP; Chief Editor: Dale W Steele, MD, MS  more...
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Although exact figures are unavailable, foreign body ingestion is clearly common among children. More than 125,000 ingestions of foreign bodies by people aged 19 years and younger were reported to American Poison Control Centers in 2007. [10] In a cross-sectional survey of parents of more than 1500 children, 4% of the children had swallowed a coin (the most commonly swallowed foreign body in many studies). [11]

A study that analyzed emergency department (ED) visits involving magnet ingestion in children from 2002 to 2011 found that there has been an alarming increase in ED visits for magnet ingestion in children. A national estimate of 16,386 children presented to EDs in the United States during the 10-year study period with possible magnet ingestion. ED visits due to possible magnet ingestion increased 8.5-fold from 2002 to 2011 with a 75% average annual increase per year. The majority of patients reported to have ingested magnets were younger than 5 years (54.7%). [12]

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