Evid Based Med doi:10.1136/eb-2013-101240
  • Aetiology
  • Case-control study

Child poisonings are more common in households experiencing psychosocial stressors

  1. Alan David Woolf
  1. Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Alan David Woolf
    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, 1 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA; Alan.Woolf{at}

Commentary on Tyrrell EG, Orton E, Tata LJ, et al. Children at risk of medicinal and non-medicinal poisoning: a population-based case-control study in general practice. Br J Gen Pract 2012;62:e827–33.


For more than 50 years, clinicians have understood that there is often more to a childhood poisoning event than can be summed up as a random ‘accident’ or an unavoidable ‘act of God’. Indeed many studies have pointed to a disproportionate number of such incidents occurring in single-parent families or those under the stress of recent moves or financial hardships.1–3 Poisoned children, sometimes, have parents who are socially isolated or have issues of mental or physical illness.1 ,2 Poisonings involving toddlers most often occur in their homes, when hazardous products or potent medicines may be easily available.4 These …