Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Inequalities in hospital admission rates for unintentional poisoning in young children
  1. L Groom,
  2. D Kendrick,
  3. C Coupland,
  4. B Patel,
  5. J Hippisley-Cox
  1. School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MsL Groom
 Division of Primary Care, School of Community Health Sciences, Floor 13, Tower Building, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK; Lindsay.groom{at}


Objective: To determine the relationship between deprivation and hospital admission rates for unintentional poisoning, by poisoning agent in children aged 0–4 years.

Design: Cross sectional study of routinely collected hospital admissions data.

Setting: East Midlands, UK.

Participants: 1469 admissions due to unintentional poisoning over two years.

Main outcome measure: Hospital admission rates for unintentional poisoning. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) comparing hospital admission rates for poisoning in the most and least deprived electoral wards.

Results: Children in the most deprived wards had admission rates for medicinal poisoning that were 2–3 times higher than those in the least deprived wards (IRR 2.49, 95% CI 1.87 to 3.30). Admission rates for non-medicinal poisoning were about twice as high in the most compared to the least deprived wards (IRR 1.77, 95% CI 1.19 to 2.64). Deprivation gradients were particularly steep for benzodiazepines (IRR 5.63, 95% CI 1.72 to 18.40), antidepressants (IRR 4.58, 95% CI 1.80 to 11.66), cough and cold remedies (IRR 3.93, 95% CI 1.67 to 9.24), and organic solvents (IRR 3.69, 95% CI 1.83 to 7.44).

Conclusions: There are steep deprivation gradients for admissions to hospital for childhood poisoning, with particularly steep gradients for some psychotropic medicines. Interventions to reduce these inequalities should be directed towards areas of greater deprivation.

  • NHS, National Health Service
  • IRR, Incidence rate ratio
  • ICD10, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision
  • hospital admission
  • poisoning
  • children
  • socioeconomic gradients

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Source of funding: Grant from NHS Executive Trent and Broxtowe and Hucknall Primary Care Trust (NHS Research and Development support funding).

  • Competing interests: none.