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July 1961

Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin) Poisoning: Epidemiology

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Child Health Division, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(1):17-24. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010019004

Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is not only the most common childhood poison, but its widespread use, attractive taste, as well as the late appearance of its toxic symptoms make it a particular threat to families with young children.1 In addition, physicians have no proved way of attacking the problem to bring about a reduction in the number of such incidents; in 1959, for example, 40% of all medicinal and over 25% of the total childhood poisonings were due to acetylsalicylic acid2—a number which has steadily risen in recent years despite alleged therapeutic advances.3-6

New methods of approach in both factgathering and prevention of accidental poisoning are clearly indicated. Previous use of mass media and regulation of dosage and container design have been unsuccessful. A method of prevention is also needed which can be applied easily by individual physicians and parents, since they are at the most strategic