A nation-wide campaign aimed at preventing accidents in the home is being implemented in Norway. 95% of the municipalities acknowledge having received information material from the campaign, 33% report having established accident prevention committees, and 26% report having introduced preventive measures as a result of this national campaign. The study indicates that accidents are not recognized as yet as a major health problem in many municipalities. Identification of accidents as a health problem seems to be an important factor in the preventive efforts. To enhance further accident prevention efforts it seems important to increase awareness of accident as a health problem, and to increase the involvement of key personnel within the community.
The use of methyl alcohol (methanol) as an igniting fluid is very dangerous. Nineteen patients (17 males and 2 females), burned while using this fluid for lighting barbecues or filling lamps and stoves, have recently been treated at the Burn Unit at the Karolinska Hospital. A mean of 23% body surface was involved and many of the burns were deep dermal or full thickness. Ninety percent of the patients had facial burns. Hospital stay averaged 23 days with 2.2 operations. It seems that previous alarms ( Nordstr öm & Nyl én, 1975) remain unheeded by both manufacturers and consumers. The public must be warned about the dangers associated with the use of methanol. Briquettes as solid fuel for barbecues and safer ignition fluids ought to be popularized .
A case of accidental lethal monochloroacetic acid poisoning is presented, along with a brief review of the mechanisms of intoxication. Although lethal skin exposures have been previously reported, this case appears to be the first instance of oral-route poisoning to be documented.
A retrospective study was carried out among children admitted to the Pediatric Clinic, Haukeland Hospital, from 1958 until 1986 for accidental poisoning. Drugs was the most frequent poisoning agent (49%), followed by household agents (22%), different agents (20%) and plants/mushrooms (9%). 89% of the children were under five years of age, 57% were boys. 20% stayed more than one day in the hospital. Very serious poisonings involving admission for more than 14 days were most frequently seen after intake of drugs. The number of admissions was doubled from 1966-70 to 1981-85. Most of the increase referred to poisoning from plants, tobacco and hydrocarbon products. The greatest increase was found for admissions lasting less than two days. Most of the potentially serious poisonings in our study were caused by agents that, by American or British law, it would have been illegal to sell without special child-resistant packaging. It is strongly advised that a similar law be passed in Norway.
During a period of one year, a total of 79 cases of accidental poisoning were registered prospectively in the County Hospital in Aarhus and the City Hospital in Randers. The female/male ratio was 1/1.5. The incidence in children aged 0-14 years of age was 13 per 10,000. In Denmark as a whole, a total of 1,300 cases of accidental poisoning were estimated to occur during a period of one year. Sixty-four (81%) of the accidents occurred in small children aged 0-4 years. Twenty-five patients (32%) were hospitalized. The average duration of hospitalization was 2.4 days (1-4 days) and 84% of the inpatients were aged 0-4 years. The survey revealed that 27 case of accidental poisoning were due to medicine, 20 to organic solvents, eight to chemicals, 22 to poison and two to asphyxiation. It is concluded that the special legal regulations about packing and labelling are not sufficient when storage of the potential poison is not safe enough.
The Norwegian "Campaign Against Home Accidents" was launched nationwide during 1988 to 1991, with the goal of reducing the incidence of home accidents by 20%. The aim of the campaign was to urge primarily the municipal health services to form local accident prevention groups and to implement local measures for prevention of home accidents. On the basis of two surveys, after one year and at the end of the national campaign, an evaluation was carried out concerning the participation of the municipal health services in the campaign and the impact of the campaign on local accident prevention activities. The results indicate that the national campaign engaged the majority of the municipalities and stimulated local accident prevention work to some extent. Most local activities were health education measures, whereas environmental intervention were less commonly reported. Involvement in the campaign was the variable most related to level of accident prevention activities at the end of the campaign period. However, the relationship was only modest. Restricted economical resources, too little emphasis on environmental change, lack of political involvement and insufficient use of coalition partners at the community level are suggested as the major explanations for the limited effect of the campaign.