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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 May 14;76 Suppl 1:S33-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2012.02.007. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Modeling the risk: innovative approaches to understand and quantify the risk of severe FB injury.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Microbiology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.



The entry of a small item into the respiratory or digestive tract is still one of the leading causes of injuries in children up to 14 years old. The aim of the paper is to provide a quantitative risk assessment analysis for identifying consumer product features which contribute to increase the risk of sustaining a severe injury.


Data on foreign body injuries were collected in 28 European countries and one Pakistani hospital. A total of 7296 cases were classified according to ICD-9CM 931-935. Information about injuries included age and gender of the injured child, circumstances of the accident and foreign body features. A classification tree was set up in order to analyze the impact of the item features like volume shape and rigidity on the severity of the injury.


Males are involved in severe injuries more often than females. Most severe injuries when the foreign body is localized in the ears were due to objects with volume lesser than 49 mm(3). Volume cut-off is slightly higher for foreign bodies that have been found in the nose (55 mm(3)). Objects with conforming rigidity pose children to higher risk of severe injury.


The presence and supervision of an adult is crucial in reducing the risk for severe injuries both in pharynx and laryhnx and in mouth.

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