Poison Control line sees uptick in calls since pandemic

Calls to the National Poison Help Number are up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. More time at home for children can mean more risk for exposure of potentially dangerous products.

RAPID CITY, S.D — As parents continue to be hypervigilant about keeping their homes as clean as possible during the pandemic, there has been a major surge in the demand for cleaning products.
On the same note, the combination of more young children at home and parents juggling many responsibilities at home, the Poison Control Help Number has seen an increase in calls about children being exposed to cleaning products.

Lysol, cleaning product

“I would argue that the biggest danger for children during this time is injections while they are at home, at home for longer hours than usual and potential to being exposed to more cleaning products as people have more in their homes these days,” said Sadiqa Kendi, a Division Chief at Boston Medical Center, Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Safe Kids Worldwide Medical Advisor.

There has been a 70 percent increase in the number of hand sanitizer exposures reported to poison control centers from this time last year. Bleaches accounted for the largest increase among all cleaner categories.


The challenge of raising children during a pandemic, combined with more cleaning products in the home may be the perfect storm for increased injuries.

Safe Kids Worldwide has three tips to help parents keep kids safe around cleaning products during the pandemic.

Hand Sanitizer

First, store household products out of children’s reach and sight. Keep cleaning products up and away. Put products back after being used.

And keep household products in their original container and read product labels.

“It’s important to know exactly what’s in the bottle,” Kendi said. “Everyone in the house to know what’s in the bottle and so keeping those products in the original bottle is really important.”

Young children are full of curiosity, but sometimes we find them getting into things they shouldn’t and it’s challenging to keep on eye on toddlers 24/7.

Poison Control

“The best thing that we can all do is to try to keep our kids safe during this time is to develop habits that make it simple to keep our children safe,” says Kendi.

Have the poison control number readily available. The number is 1-800-222-1222. Specialists there provide free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day.

There is also help for if pets get into unwanted products as well.


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