Product-Related Injuries Declined During Pandemic, Except For Most Severe Cases: CPSC

New findings released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlight the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on emergency room treatments for product-related injuries last year, indicating that while consumers have avoided going to hospitals, treatments continued at the same rates for more severe problems..

In a report published March 4, federal safety regulators indicate the overall the rate of emergency room treatments caused by consumer products dropped about 24%. However, treatments for the most severe injuries remained about the same, and actually increased for problems involving batteries, cleaning and other products.

Researchers used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), and compared the findings from March 2020 through September 2020 to the period between March 2019 through September 2019. Roughly one in 50 hospitals nationally participate in the NEISS.

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During the pandemic, many people have focused on avoiding visits to the hospital in fear of contracting the coronavirus. This has largely led to decreased ER visits, yet some types of ER visits have increased, including treatments for injuries associated with fireworks, which increased by 56%; injuries from skateboards, scooters, and hoverboards, which increased by 39%; and severe injuries involving all train vehicles (ATV), mopeds, and minibikes, which increased by 39%.

Injuries related to button batteries increased by 93% among children between the ages of five and nine years old. Injuries involving cleaning ages increased by 84%, and those involving soaps and detergents increased by 60%.

Injuries for massage devices, including sex toys, increased by an astounding 133% for people ages 20 to 29. Injuries involving hot tubs and whirlpools increased by 25%.

Bicycle injuries increased 1% overall, but injuries for users over 40 years old increased by 21% and increased by 39% for adults older than 70.

This is the first data from the first seven months of the pandemic, indicating what injuries decreased and increased during the initial, most severe pandemic months.

“These data begin to tell a story of how consumers were injured by products during the pandemic,” Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a press release.  “But the ending of the story has yet to be written.  With more data and more resources, CPSC can help make sure that consumers are safer, whether they are quarantining at home, or back at work and school.”


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