A UAE hospital has reported an increase in cases of children swallowing chemicals and small electronic objects.
Emirates Health Services (EHS) said Al Qassimi Women's and Children's Hospital admitted more than 50 children in one year, some of whom sustained severe damage to their digestive systems.
Five cases were received within 10 days, including two children who drank detergents used to clear drains.
One child was left with severe damage to the esophagus, while the other sustained permanent injuries in the stomach and esophagus.
Two other children were brought to the hospital after swallowing batteries and more than five magnets, each.
The hospital said the most common objects swallowed by children are batteries, magnets, nails and chicken bones, which doctors have warned can cause serious harm.
Cases could be higher since the pediatric gastroenterology section only receives cases that require an endoscopic intervention.
“Endoscopic intervention is not possible and risky in some cases, especially if the swallowed object has gone deep into an area that’s unreachable by an endoscope, or if the child ingested chemicals more than 48 to 72 hours before admission,” the hospital’s administration said.
Yasser Kamal Rashid, pediatric gastroenterologist at the hospital, called for constant parental supervision and warned against having harmful substances within a child's reach. He added that consequences could be detrimental and irreversible.
“Such incidents can damage or burn a hole in some areas of the child’s digestive system, which may require an open-chest surgery to replace the esophagus with part of the intestine, or connect two body organs which may sometimes prove fatal for the child,” said Rashid.
Witnessing a weekly increase in cases, the hospital conducted a study last month to raise awareness on parental supervision.
EHS officials said, “the study focused on educating parents about the risk of these incidents and guiding them into keeping dangerous items out of children's reach.”
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