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Perils of the Pandemic: Scooters, Cleansers and Button Batteries

HealthDay News
by Robert Preidt
Updated: Mar 4th 2021

new article illustration

THURSDAY, March 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Fireworks, skateboards and button batteries are among the products associated with increased trips to the emergency room during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

While ER treatment of product-related injuries fell by about a quarter between March and September of last year, a new report pointed to surges for certain types of products. The report was released to mark National Consumer Protection Week.

The rate of severe injury was nearly the same as the year before.

Overall, treatment for product-related injuries dropped 24%, but only went down 1% for severe product-related injuries.

The largest increases in all age groups involved fireworks and flares (56%); skateboards, scooters and hoverboards (39%), and severe injuries from all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), mopeds and minibikes (39%).

Meanwhile, ER-treated injuries related to button batteries was up 93% among young children.

The report also found steep increases in treatment of injuries related to cleaning agents (84%) and soaps and detergents (60%).

While bicycle injuries were up 1% overall, they were up 21% among people 40 and older, and 39% for those over 70.

Sports-related injuries, including those that usually occur at schools, fell by as much as 81%.

"These data begin to tell a story of how consumers were injured by products during the pandemic," CPSC acting chairman Robert Adler said in a commission news 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."

The report highlighted areas of special concern and offered several safety tips:

  • Keep cleaning products in their original bottles, and lock them up and away from younger children.
  • Keep products with small batteries, including TV remote controls, away from kids, and make sure that the battery compartments on toys are secured properly.
  • Wear a helmet and stay out of the street when riding a scooter, skateboard or hoverboard.
  • Never allow young children to play with, or ignite, fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Wear a helmet when cycling. Be sure it has a label that reads "Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards" for bicycle helmets.

More information

Safety guides on a wide range of topics are available at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, March 4, 2021