Jay M. Arena, M.D.
JAMA. 1959;169(11):1187-1188. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73000280001010.
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The accidental ingestion of drugs causes 35% of deaths from poisoning in children 1 to 5 years of age. In this age group the incidence of poisoning from drugs is, however, far greater than that from household agents. Mellins and co-workers1 reported the incidence of drug poisoning alone from the Chicago Poison Control Center as 50.6%. Recent figures from the National Clearing House, as reported by Cann and associates,2 showed that 50% of the 4,000 cases reported from 29 poison control centers were due to the ingestion of drugs. Figures from the New York Poison Control Center are even higher—an amazing 70%.3

In 1956 over 3.5 billion dollars was spent for drugs in the United States, so there is little wonder that poisoning is so frequent in infants and children who learn by exploration, questioning, sampling, and trial and error. They are particularly susceptible to the accidental


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