Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2022 Apr 26:1-3. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2022.2064867. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Almost half of exposures reported to United States (US) poison centers are exploratory ingestions in children under the age of 5 years. Pediatric cannabis exposures reported to US poison centers have risen over the last twenty years, with greater increases in the last 5 years. In 2020, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in widespread stay-at-home orders and subsequent changes in work, education, and daycare. This study describes the changes in pediatric cannabis exposures during the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic relative to the three years before the pandemic.
METHODS: Cases were identified from the National Poison Data System. Inclusion criteria was unintentional cannabis exposure in children aged 6 months to 5 years between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2020. Analysis was performed with segmented regression of interrupted time series analysis comparing January 2017-March 2020 (pre-COVID-19) to April 2020-December 2020 (COVID-19 period). Autocorrelation was assessed using Dubin-Watson test.
RESULTS: There were 7,679 unintentional pediatric exposures from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020. There was a significant increase of 3.1% per month during the pre-COVID-19 period (p < .0001). A statistically significant immediate increase in number of exposures per month occurred in April 2020 (58.4%; p < .0001). The slope in the COVID-19 period was -0.01% (p = .99). No autocorrelation was detected.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Unintentional cannabis exposures in children aged 6 months to 5 years reported to United States poison centers increased significantly after the initial COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. This trend may be associated with COVID-19 quarantines, increased time children are spending at home, increased availability of cannabis products in homes, or other reasons. Future efforts should evaluate specific factors that resulted in the observed increases in pediatric exposures.
Source: ncbi 2