Rockhampton Hospital's executive director Wendy Hoey (right) with nurse unit manager Heath Thwaite (left) and director of surgery Dr Garry Dyke.
Rockhampton Hospital's executive director Wendy Hoey (right) with nurse unit manager Heath Thwaite (left) and director of surgery Dr Garry Dyke. CQHHS

Swallowing danger: 12 kids rushed to Rocky Hospital

A RECENT spate of incidents where young children have swallowed foreign objects and substances has prompted a warning from Central Queensland's health authorities.

Parents and carers are being urged to be vigilant after Rockhampton paramedics this week responded to two separate emergency calls where infants had ingested dangerous liquids.

Both occurred on Monday - the first at a Gracemere home where a baby boy swallowed car oil.

Fortunately ingestion was minimal and he was treated at the scene.

The second scare, at a Koongal residence, involved a male toddler swallowing multi-purpose cleaner.

He was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Monday's incidents follow an alarming number of children being taken to Rockhampton Hospital in recent months after swallowing something hazardous.

From the start of June to last weekend, 11 children, from babies to nine-year-olds, were rushed to the hospital's emergency department.

One of these infants was admitted to the operating theatre, four to the paediatric unit, and six were treated before being discharged.

Rockhampton Hospital's executive director Wendy Hoey had some timely advice for parents and carers.

She said many household items that seemed perfectly safe were actually poisonous and caused harm to children if not stored and handled with care.

"People should avoid bringing industrial strength chemicals into the home and never take children into areas where (these) are in use.

"Medicines and poisons should also be stored out of reach, and out of sight of children - a high, locked, or child resistant cupboard is best.”

Ms Hoey said anyone with young children should steer clear of using rat bait pellets and instead use products encased in a plastic bait station if required.

These products along with cockroach bait stations should always be placed in areas not accessible by children or pets, such as under the washing machine, refrigerator or in the ceiling.

Ms Hoey said people should never transfer poisons to another container, especially drink or food containers.

"And don't store medicines in the fridge door, don't take medication in front of children, and never call medicine lollies.”

Ms Hoey said when it came to choking hazards, anything smaller than a D-size battery (the large round one) could be a danger to young children.

"Things like beads, marbles, eyes off soft toys, coins, jewellery and paper clips should be kept out of reach of children at all times.”

Fridge magnets posed a similar danger to button batteries when swallowed.

"If a child swallows more than one magnet, they can stick together in the digestive tract, causing blockages and even holes in the wall of the gut,” Ms Hoey said.

Anyone who thinks a young child is choking should immediately call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance and stay on the phone with the operator to follow first-aid steps as directed.

"If an older child is choking, encourage them to cough to see if it dislodges the object,” Ms Hoey said.

"If it doesn't, follow the first-aid steps and call for an ambulance if choking continues.”



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