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Injuries related to some consumer products increase substantially during pandemic despite drop in number of all emergency room visit

Skateboard-Guy Up in Air With Helmet and Knee Pads 1091710_640During the pandemic, more people are going to emergency rooms for injuries from some consumer products such as batteries, fireworks, all-terrain vehicles, and skateboards.

Although emergency room treatments for all product-related injuries decreased by 24 percent, likely due to consumers avoiding hospitals filled with covid-19 cases, emergency room treatments only dropped by 1 percent for the most severe injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a report looking at product-related emergency room visits during the first six months of the pandemic from March to September 2020 compared with March to September 2019.

Injuries related to button batteries rose significantly, 93 percent, among children ages 5-9. Ingestion of these batteries, such as those found in TV remotes, can cause severe tissue burns and death.

The largest increases in emergency room-treated injuries across all age ranges occurred with fireworks and flares, 56 percent; skateboards, scooters, and hoverboards, 39 percent; and ATVs, mopeds, and minibikes, 39 percent.

Emergency rooms-treated injuries related to cleaning agents rose by 84 percent, while injuries related to soaps and detergents rose by 60 percent, including liquid laundry packets, which pose a severe ingestion hazard for small children as well as seniors.

“These findings show that everyday products are posing more of a hazard than before due to the pandemic as children are spending more time at home, and parents are juggling childcare and working remotely,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director for Kids In Danger. “Protect your children by securing battery compartments of electronics and other products and lock away cleaning supplies from children.”

The CPSC’s report offers safety tips for consumers:

  • Keep cleaning products in their original bottles. Lock them up and away from younger children.
  • Wear a helmet before riding a scooter, skateboard, hoverboard, or bicycle. When buying a helmet look for the label that reads “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards for Bicycle Helmets.”
  • Don’t allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Keep products with small batteries, including TV remotes, away from kids, and make sure that the battery compartments on children’s toys are secured properly.

The injury data was analyzed from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which represents a sample of hospitals nationwide.

Non-emergency rooms-treated injuries weren’t included in the data, so it doesn’t include consumers who feared going to the emergency rooms for possible covid-19 exposure.

To identify and handle the hidden hazards in your home that can cause injury or death, see “Covid-19: Your Home’s Safety Checklist.”

Comments

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Jennifer

Considering how much more time is spent doing these activities during this pandemic, I'm actually surprised the numbers aren't even higher.

Laurie Stone

I think I'd go crazy today as a parent. Everything seems so much scarier!

Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

Just a whiff of bleach makes me feel ill and people are using it to sanitize. I have found some natural alternatives and soap and water works just as well. I don't know how we survived fireworks when we were young.

Carol Cassara

At this age I am more careful than ever. I do not want to fall. At all. Not even a little trip.

Rita

The pandemic, with people staying home so much, is making some of the typical at-home injuries occur more frequently. This report is a good reminder of rules for kids' safety: wear helmets, don't play with fireworks, lock up cleaning supplies, and keep products with small batteries away from children.

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