Accidental Poisonings and COVID 19

As we all work to prevent the spread of Coronavirus through stay-at home practices, and increased cleaning and disinfection, a new concern has developed related to accidental poisonings by those chemicals that are meant to keep us safe. This includes the risk of accidental ingestion by drinking the cleaning products, inhalation of toxic fumes, or topical burns and/or absorption by using chemicals meant to disinfect surfaces such as countertops on skin.

The National Poison Control Center has seen a 20% increase in accidental poisonings for the period of January through March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year. Several factors are attributed to the increase including the increased prevalence of cleaning products in our homes due to COVID-19 prevention efforts, more time at home when children may explore cabinets, open bottles, etc., and social media suggestions to use disinfectants and other chemicals in unconventional ways to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. (

On April 28th 2020, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) issued an alert related to “Using Disinfectants: COVID 19”. It states, “Disinfectants are not intended to be used on the skin or in the body because they can irritate the skin or cause toxic effects if swallowed. As our curious little ones like to learn and explore—Remember to keep disinfectants up high and out of sight. If you find your child has explored the disinfectants, do not panic and call your local Poison Center for advice (1-800- 222-1222).” More information can be found at:

With the increased availability and use of hand sanitizer in COVID-19 prevention that the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) cautions “The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer ranges from 40% to 95%. A child ingesting any more than a taste of hand sanitizer could be at risk for alcohol poisoning.”

AAPCC provides the following tips to prevent harmful exposure:
√ Do not ingest disinfectants.
√ Read and follow product label instructions before each use.
√ Do not mix cleaning products.
√ Practice safe storage habits, keep products up and away.

Poison Control is available 24 hours per day to answer questions or concerns and can be reached by phone, text or weblink:

Poison Control Contact Info