The past 20 years have seen a nearly 160-percent increase in the number of children poisonings, according to a 2013 State of the Child report.
The National Council for the Child released a statement Thursday containing poisoning-related statistics from its December report. It showed that there were 18,537 children poisoned in 2012, compared to 7,149 in 1993. A majority of the victims (83.5%) were under the age of five.
According to the study, the largest portion of poisoning cases in children aged 17 and under occurred by swallowing hazardous materials (81.1%). The second largest is by poisoning through the eye (4.9%), and then through the skin (3.2%). Inhalation of poisonous materials accounted for only 2.8% of cases.
Furthermore, the most common place for child poisonings was at home (91.4%), followed by the immediate vicinity of the house or in nature (3.4%). Schools accounted for 0.8% of cases.
The findings on poisoning were comprised of statistics gathered from the Health Ministry, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s faculty of medicine and Rambam Medical Center and its National Poison Control Center.
The report, however, noted that the above figures included only cases where medical attention for poisoning was sought from the National Poison Control Center, and did not necessarily reflect the full number of poisoning cases.
Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the National Council for the Child, said of the findings that most accidents around the home or in the yard can be easily prevented with a little more awareness, attention, caution and responsibility.
The council called upon the Health Ministry to “deepen, broaden and reinforce the information on the subject” and called upon parents to “increase alertness and caution,” saying this was the safest way to prevent accidents.
Released annually, the report is composed of data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, government ministries, nonprofit organizations and medical institutions.
It presents a picture of the state of the child in Israel, taking into consideration many factors, including education, health, poverty, abuse and criminal activity.