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Preventing foreign body injuries in children: a key role to play for the injury community
  1. D Gregori
  1. Professor Dario Gregori, Department of Public Health and Microbiology, Via Santena 5bis, 10126 Torino, Italy; dario.gregori{at}

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Despite the improvement and diffusion of prevention rules, aspiration and ingestion of foreign bodies remain common events in pediatric patients, which can have severe, even fatal, consequences. Children 1–3 years of age are the most common victims of this class of injuries.1 In this age range, children have a tendency to explore the world using their mouth, but they have immature swallowing coordination and underdeveloped neuromuscular mechanisms for airway protection. Moreover older infants develop incisor teeth before the molars, which enable them to bite and detach morsels of solid food that they are unable to crush.

An important advance in the prevention of injuries was the introduction of safety rules for toy design that require toys containing small parts be sold with a warning that they are not suitable for use by children under the age of 3.2 This has reduced the frequency of injuries due to toys to below 3–4% in Europe and North America.13

Nevertheless, there are reasons why the injury prevention community …

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  • Competing interests: None.