New data shows an increase in emergency room (ER) treatment for certain product-related injuries such as button batteries, fireworks, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and skateboards during the pandemic. Although ER treatment for all product-related injuries decreased by 24%, perhaps due to consumers avoiding hospitals overrun with COVID-19 cases, ER treatment only dropped by 1% for the most severe injuries.

The CPSC released a report last week analyzing product-related ER 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%) among young 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 ER-treated injuries across all age ranges occurred with fireworks and flares (56%), skateboards, scooters, and hoverboards (39%), and ATVs, mopeds, and minibikes (39%). ER-treated injuries related to cleaning agents rose by 84%, while injuries related to soaps and detergents rose by 60%, including liquid laundry packets, which pose a severe ingestion hazard for small children as well as seniors.

The CPSC’s report offers safety tips for consumers:

  • Keep cleaning products in their original bottles. Lock them up and away from younger
  • 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.

View CPSC’s key highlights of their report, and our consumer guide detailing common hazards at home that have been exacerbated during the pandemic while sheltering in place, that we created with CFA and U.S. PIRG.