COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown: what has changed in common home accidents such as foreign bodies and corrosive injuries?

Pediatr Surg Int. 2022 Nov;38(11):1657-1662. doi: 10.1007/s00383-022-05210-2. Epub 2022 Sep 7.


Background: COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected our lives in all areas. Due to the social isolation policies implemented during this period, the majority of parents and all school-age children spent their lives at home. This study aims to investigate the effects of pandemic and isolation on home accidents treated in our center.

Methods: Foreign body ingestion (gastric foreign bodies: G.FB), foreign body aspiration (respiratory foreign bodies: R.FB), and corrosive substance (CS) ingestion cases admitted to our hospital between March 11, 2019, and March 10, 2021, were retrospectively analyzed. Demographic data, type and cause of home accidents, the time of the accident and the admission to the hospital, the location of the foreign body, and the follow-up data were recorded. The patients were divided into two groups: the pre-pandemic period (11 March 2019-10 March 2020) and the COVID pandemic period (11 March 2020-10 March 2021), and the data were evaluated between two groups as < 6 years old and 6-18 years old.

Results: During the 2 years, a total of 982 patients were admitted to our hospital for G.FB, R.FB, or CS. Four hundred and eighty-three of them (49.2%) were in the pre-pandemic period and 499 (50.8%) were in the pandemic period (p = 0.206). The mean age of the patients was 3.63 ± 3.32 years; 82.4% of the patients in the pre-pandemic group and 85.4% of the patients in the pandemic group were children < 6 years old. While the F/M ratio was 1/1.5 during the pre-pandemic period, it was 1/1.1 during the pandemic period. Of the cases, 73.3% were G.FB, 4.6% were R.FB, and 22.1% were CS. Almost half of the accidents occurred between the hours of 16 and 24. During the pandemic period, the accidents increased to occur between 0 and 8 am in children < 6 years old, and between 8 am and 4 pm in children 6-18 years old (p = 0.003). All of the home accidents in the 6-18 age group between 0 and 8 o'clock were girls (p < 0.0001). During the pandemic period, the frequency of button batteries and food products increased in G.FB. Also, the frequency of R.FB increased significantly (p = 0.006) and the most common R.FB was the food products. The frequency of CS increased in girls during the pandemic period, and CSs were brought to the hospital in a shorter time after the accident during the pandemic period (p = 0.007).

Conclusions: It can be thought that the main reason why home accidents are common in the 0-6 age group is due to the developmental characteristics of the child rather than the longer time spent at home. The pandemic and isolation increase the frequency of foreign body aspirations and home accidents in girls.

Keywords: COVID-19; Child; Foreign bodies; Home accidents; Injury; Lockdown; Pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home
  • Adolescent
  • Burns, Chemical*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Caustics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies* / epidemiology
  • Foreign Bodies* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Caustics