COVID-19 Increasing Risks of In-Home Poisonings, CPSC Warns

Unintentional poisonings inside the home have skyrocketed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to federal health and safety officials.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release on March 22, to raise awareness for National Poison Prevention Week, which runs from March 21 to March 27.

This year, the CPSC is highlighting of a continuing risk of in-home poisonings, which has increased over the past year, amid disruption of daily routines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The CPSC urges consumers to take stock of common poisons lurking in their homes, and to take action to protect their families from serious and potentially life-threatening health risks.

According to the CPSC, unintentional poisonings are one of the leadings causes of injuries among children, and are preventable. In 2019, around 67,500 children under the age of five went to the emergency room due to unintentional poisoning. About 85 percent of these poisonings happen at home and come from common household medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antidepressants, and others.

However, from March to September 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp increase in emergency room treatments for individuals with severe injuries related to cleaning products (from 60% in 2019 to 84% in 2020). This is likely due from the increase demand and use of sanitary and cleaning products to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The release also notes the many different types of products that can cause harm that people often forget they have in their homes especially during the pandemic. The CPSC made the following recommendations and warnings:

  • Batteries are not only choking hazards for children, but they are also poisonous and should be kept out of children’s reach.
  • Medications should be checked for expiration dates and put in a place not easily accessible to children.
  • Household cleaning products should kept in the containers they come in and should be stored in safe locations away from access by children and away from food.
  • Liquid nicotine products need to be stored away from children.
  • Consumers should make sure products such as generators, furnaces and cars are stored and used in a way which prevents carbon monoxide poisoning risks.

With the overall increase of cleaning products since the pandemic started in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many increased amounts of emergency room treatments which could have been preventable if proper safety measures were taken, the CPSC warns. If you feel that you have been poisoned, please call the National Poison Help Line Number, 800-222-1222.


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