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Pediatrics. 1980 Jun;65(6):1079-85.

Strangulation in childhood: epidemiology and clinical course.


A review of 233 cases of childhood strangulation was made to determine injury epidemiology. Consistent patterns of injury were observed. Crib and playground equipment strangulations are already the subject of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) preventative regulations. High chair-, playpen mesh-, pacifier cord-, and clothing-related injuries would be amenable to prevention by improved product safety regulation. The CPSC has been petitioned to remedy the first two of these hazards. Many crib and rope strangulations can only be prevented by direct patient counseling. Although Congress empowered and required the CPSC to recognize and correct unsafe products, its surveillance systems may obscure the very design defects that cause injury. Likewise, political considerations may slow enactment of new design regulations. Physicians who treat childhood accident victims are in a position to recognize hazardous products and lobby for their improvement. Of the 233 cases 38 were further evaluated to delineate the clinical course of childhood strangulation. Victims who fail to resume normal cardiopulmonary function by the time of hospitalization have a poor prognosis for neurologic recovery with current modes of therapy. Improved treatment of hypoxic and ischemic cerebral injury might prevent some of the deaths and handicaps resulting from strangulation.

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