The Most-Googled Safety Questions in the US

In our ongoing efforts to make the world a safer, more aware place, we wanted to see what safety issues Americans were most concerned about in 2020 and how those changed since 2019. With COVID-19’s arrival into our daily lives, there was a dramatic shift, but questions about health, travel, and food and drink remain at the top of the safety searches.

Are you concerned about the same things as the rest of the United States?

Questions related to COVID-19 captured 65% of safety-related search results in 2020. That trend will likely continue through 2021 as the world anticipates vaccines and other safety and support measures. As of this writing, the United States is approaching 15,000,000 total novel coronavirus cases and 300,000 total deaths.1

Notepad

Need more safety information regarding COVID-19? Check out our comprehensive coronavirus resources, which cover family safety, personal health and hygiene, crime, dating, and more.


Health-related questions topped safety searches in 2019, and the pandemic only solidified the focus on health and safety in 2020. However, unlike the previous year, in 2020, travel safety became far more intertwined with personal health and safety. COVID-19’s spread also amplified food and drink concerns.

The most-Googled safety questions in 2020 and 2019

Rank20202019
1 Is it safe to go to the dentist? Is it safe to eat romaine?
2 Is it safe to travel to Mexico? Is it safe to do a liquid diet?
3 Is it safe to order takeout? Is it safe to do Keto?
4 Is it safe to travel right now? Is it safe to take melatonin?
5 Is it safe to order from China? Is it safe to use Facebook?
6 Is it safe to stay in a hotel? Is it safe to use Uber?
7 Is it safe to eat fast food? Is it safe to vape?
8 Is it safe to shower during a thunderstorm? Is it safe to drink tap water?
9 Is it safe to drink distilled water? Is it safe to eat snow?
10 Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide in your ear? Is it safe to fly?
11 Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico? Is it safe to shower in a thunderstorm?
12 Is it safe to eat raw eggs? Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
13Is it safe to drink tap water? Is it safe to get vaccinated?
14 Is it safe to travel to Egypt? Is it safe to hunt?
15 Is it safe to eat 2-year-old frozen meat? Is it safe to live in El Paso?
16 Is it safe to send kids back to school? Is it safe to swallow gum?
17Is it safe to take melatonin? Is it safe to use Airbnb?
18Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica? Is it safe to use microwaves?
19Is it safe to inhale essential oils from a diffuser? Is it safe to use Venmo?
20Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? Is it safe to date?

Which safety questions from the 2019 list are still on people’s minds in 2020?

In 2020 and 2019, a few queries remained at the top of the safety search results. We’ll help answer some of these ongoing, less-complex questions.

  • "Is it safe to eat raw eggs?” When you eat raw eggs, you face a low risk of salmonella poisoning; the USDA recommends pasteurized eggs.2
  • "Is it safe to shower during a thunderstorm?” The CDC recommends avoiding showers during thunderstorms because lightning can travel through plumbing.3
  • "Is it safe to drink tap water?” Drinking tap water safely depends on the source and filtration used.4 If you’re traveling or questioning a local area’s supply, consult the CDC’s travel destinations list. When in doubt, drink bottled water.
  • "Is it safe to take melatonin?” Melatonin is a relatively safe and natural hormone taken for sleep aid and relaxation, but you should be aware of melatonin’s interactions with medications, allergies, pregnancy, children, and more.5

Which safety searches are related to COVID-19?

Based on this year’s most-Googled safety search results, COVID-19 seems to dominate Americans' safety concerns, but other factors may also be at play.

Percentage of the most-Googled safety questions by topic

Topic
2020
2019
COVID-19 65%0%
Health60%55%
Travel35%20%
Food and drink30%40%
Injury5%40%
Tech0%15%
Crime0%30%

During the pandemic, traveling brings up many different safety questions, but some questions may relate to non-COVID-19 safety concerns. 

For example, “Is it safe to travel to Egypt?” may be related to those who are already willing to travel to Egypt but worry about COVID-19 contamination. But it’s also likely that travelers were concerned by terrorist attacks on tourists in the Sinai Peninsula, which resulted in four deaths and 18 wounded as of May 2019.6

Food and drink took up a smaller portion of the searches, but questions like "Is it safe to order takeout?” or “Is it safe to eat fast food?” have more to do with COVID-19 than they do with things like purchasing safety or consumption safety (unlike “Is it safe to eat 2-year-old frozen meat?”). We recommend following the CDC’s guidelines for relevant COVID-19 food safety information. 

While some ambiguity remains about which questions directly relate to COVID-19, there is no denying that the novel coronavirus impacted our daily lives.

Year-to-year, the top safety categories saw shifts related to COVID-19’s impact:

  • Concern for travel safety increased in 2020 by 15% from 2019.
  • Injury-related concerns dropped by 35%.
  • Tech- and crime-related safety searches dropped to virtually nothing compared to the other concerns of 2020.

Somewhat surprisingly, questions surrounding masks, sanitizer, cleaning, or other COVID-19 related safety precautions were absent from the list.

 

Which states researched the top safety questions in the US?

RankIs it safe to go to the dentist?Is it safe to travel to Mexico?Is it safe to order takeout?Is it safe to travel right now?Is it safe to order from China?Is it safe to stay in a hotel?Is it safe to eat fast food?Is it safe to shower during a thunderstorm?Is it safe to drink distilled water?Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide in your ear?Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico?Is it safe to eat raw eggs?Is it safe to drink tap water?Is it safe to travel to Egypt?Is it safe to eat 2-year-old frozen meat?Is it safe to send kids back to school?Is it safe to take melatonin?Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica?Is it safe to inhale essential oils from a diffuser?Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong?
1GeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaAlaskaAlaskaGeorgiaGeorgiaAlaskaAlaskaAlaska
2MarylandMinnesotaNew JerseyHawaiiHawaiiAlaskaAlaskaVermontAlaskaAlaskaAlaskaAlaskaAlaskaGeorgiaGeorgiaAlaskaAlaskaVermontVermontVermont
3MassachusettsCaliforniaMassachusettsCaliforniaAlaskaMarylandVermontAlaskaVermontVermontVermontVermontVermontVermontVermontVermontVermontNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth Dakota
4CaliforniaNorth DakotaAlaskaAlaskaMississippiCaliforniaNorth DakotaFloridaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaNorth DakotaGeorgiaGeorgiaHawaii
5ArizonaColoradoPennsylvaniaWashingtonLouisianaMassachusettsMichiganMaineHawaiiHawaiiNew JerseyHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiHawaiiWyoming
6VirginiaWashingtonConnecticutVermontAlabamaVirginiaHawaiiAlabamaArizonaWyomingHawaiiWyomingWyomingWyomingWyomingWyomingWyomingWyomingWyomingDelaware
7ConnecticutWisconsinVirginiaNorth DakotaVermontVermontAlabamaNorth DakotaNew MexicoOregonMassachusettsDelawareDelawareDelawareDelawareDelawareDelawareDelawareDelawareMontana
8HawaiiTexasDelawareTexasNew MexicoNorth DakotaArizonaArkansasWyomingMississippiConnecticutCaliforniaCaliforniaMontanaMontanaMontanaMontanaMontanaMontanaSouth Dakota
9MinnesotaArizonaVermontVirginiaKentuckyWashingtonOhioMassachusettsMassachusettsFloridaPennsylvaniaMontanaMontanaSouth DakotaSouth DakotaSouth DakotaSouth DakotaSouth DakotaSouth DakotaGeorgia
10New JerseyOregonCaliforniaArizonaNorth DakotaArizonaNew MexicoOklahomaLouisianaLouisianaNew YorkSouth DakotaSouth DakotaUtahMaineArizonaMaineMaineMaineMaine

Georgia, more than any other state, searched the most for the top 25 safety questions. Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Vermont also ranked higher than the rest of the US in safety-related search volume.

How can you prepare to stay safe in 2021?

If you still have safety questions, we’re here to help. We have plenty of resources on the state of safety in America to help you evaluate safety in your area. And while the novel coronavirus remains a concern, keep up with our crime and coronavirus updates. Or maybe you just need some handy safety checklists to keep your life running as smooth as possible.

With so much going on in the world during 2020, it may be hard to imagine a safer future. But awareness is the first step to solving the problems you may face. Remember: you can take steps every day to help ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Methodology

To determine the most-Googled safety queries, our data analysts used a combination of Google Search tools including Google Trends and Ahrefs. We removed nearly identical questions, as well as any that were NSFW or were not about personal safety. We obtained state data from Google Ads to see the average monthly searches per capita for each state’s query.

Related reports on SafeWise


Sources

  1. CDC, “CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker,” Accessed Dec 7th, 2020.
  2. USDA, “Egg Products and Food Safety,” Accessed Dec 7th, 2020.
  3. CDC, “Lightning: Lightning Safety Tips,” Accessed Dec 7th, 2020.
  4. CDC, “Drinking Water,” Accessed Dec 7th, 2020.
  5. National Institutes of Health, “Melatonin: What You Need to Know,” Accessed Dec 7th, 2020.
  6. US State Department, “Egypt International Travel Information,” Accessed Dec 7, 2020.