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Remove coins from vicinity of small children

Parents urged to remove coins from vicinity of small children

Although New Zealand’s replacement of 5 cent coins with smaller versions has not resulted in an increase in the number being ingested by children, doctors are urging parents to be particularly vigilant, ensuring coins are not left near young children.

“Coin ingestion is common in young children, and many coins pass through the child’s body without intervention – but some need hospital treatment to remove them,” said Dr Asghar Mahmood Bhatti, from Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

With Drs R Aickin and D Herd, Dr Bhatti conducted a retrospective audit of coin ingestion in a children’s emergency department between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2007.

On July 1, 2006 the New Zealand Reserve Bank replaced existing 5 cent coins with smaller versions and in October withdrew from circulation the original 5 cent coin.

During the period of the study, 77 children presented with coin ingestion, 40 before 1 July 2006 and 37 after.

10c and 20c coins were most commonly ingested (28% and 22% respectively).

Two-thirds were pre-school age, with a median age of three.

Male and female were equally represented.

More than 50% of the children underwent an ENTprocedure (35%) or surgery (20%).

Dr Bhatti said it was not possible to differentiate new and old coin designs from the notes made in the hospital charts.

Dr Bhatti will discuss the results in a poster presentation to the annual scientific meeting of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.

The conference is being held at Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast, November 26-30


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