Stationery injuries in the upper aerodigestive system: Results from the Susy Safe Project

Susy Safe Project

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Rationale and aim: Foreign body (FB) injuries are a relatively frequent event in young children. Clinical picture can be evidently affected from different variables. Among those size, shape, type and FB location cover an important issue. Increased attempts have been made in order to encourage normative interventions for products devoted to children's care and entertainment, reaching acceptable safety level; on the contrary, fewer efforts have been devoted to investigate the risk associated to objects that - even if not expressly created for children - are easy accessed by children, like stationery.The aim of the present study is to characterize the risk of complications and prolonged hospitalization due to stationery items according to age and gender of patients, FB characteristics and FB location, circumstances of the accident, as emerging from the Susy Safe Registry. Methods: From 2005 to 2010 case were collected from 70 centers in 32 different countries. Details on the injuries, identified by means of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes listed on hospital discharge records, were gathered through a standardized case report form, that provides a full set of information on injuries, with specific details on age and gender of the child, location, shape, volume, consistency and ellipticity of the foreign body, behavioral aspects linked to the injury, like the supervision of the parents or the activity concomitant to the accident, any complication occurred, length of hospitalization. Results: In the years 2005-2010 a total of 17,205 FB injuries in children aged 0-14. years were registered in Susy Safe Database. Among them 425 (2.5%) were due to a stationery item. The majority of FBs were retrieved in the nose (179, meaning 42.1%) and in the ears (176, 41.4%) only 5 cases were observed in children younger than 1. year, while most of the cases, 80.6%, were recorded in children older than 3. years. 193 patients (45.4%) were female, while 232 (54.6%) were male. Adult supervision was indicated in 212 cases. In 143 of these accidents the adult was present (33.6% of the whole group). The most frequent stationery retrieved was rubber, counting for 209 cases (49.2%). According to the FBs types, mostly all cases reported a 3D volume and a rigid or semirigid consistency (49.3%). Looking to the outcomes, 31 (7%) children needed hospitalization and complications were seen in 38 children (8.9%). No significant associations were seen between the outcomes and the FBs' characteristics, excluded those between the consistency of the FB (rigid) and the necessity of hospitalization and the shape (2D) and the presence of complication. Conclusions: Injuries are events that in many cases can be prevented with appropriate strategies. Passive environmental strategies, including product modification by manufacturers, are the most effective. However, regulation regarding small parts of potentially dangerous objects covers products addressed to children use but objects not projected for children, such as stationary items, are excluded. Our study testifies that stationary is involved in a non-negligible percentage of FB injuries, mainly due to insertion in the ears. Frequently, injuries happen under adult supervision. These results confirm the fact that when passive preventive strategies are not practical, active strategies that promote behavior change are necessary and information about this issue should be included in all visits to family pediatricians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S67-S72
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2012


  • Children
  • Foreign body injuries
  • Stationery

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