Home Accident Statistics: Is Your Home as Safe as You Think?
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Did you know that more than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home? This makes it the second most common location for such fatalities. Why are home injuries so prevalent? Most Americans are unaware that they are able to prevent such accidents. From minor burns to poisoning, electrical shocks to suffocations. Unintentional injuries, no mater the magnitude, are never fun and sadly result in an average of 21 million medical visits each year – that adds up to be about $220 billion in medical costs! What causes these problems and how can we prevent them? Read more on some common triggers, home injury statistics, and easy to apply home safety tips.
Common problems in the home that lead to injuries
- Inadequate railings and banisters
- Unsafe storage of medications
- Water heaters set too high
- Firearms improperly stored or locked up
Falls in the Home Can Be Fatal
Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths with nearly 6,000 lives claimed per year as a result of falls in the home. Falls are an especially common home injury threat for the elderly. Every year, one in every three Americans 65 and older suffers a fall that often lead to moderate or severe injuries and increases the risk of early death. More than 662,000 of adults who suffered from falls in 2010 were hospitalized due to non-fatal fall injuries. Between 20-30% adults who fall suffer from moderate to severe hip fractures, head traumas and lacerations. Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls and people ages 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those between ages 65-74 to be admitted to a long term care facility for a year or longer as a result of falls in the home.
Poisoning and Other Household Risks
The second leading cause of home injury death is poisoning. It leads to nearly 5,000 fatalities each year. Accidents involving fires and burns are the third leading cause of home injury deaths, and they claim more than 3,000 lives a year. The fourth highest home safety risk is airway obstruction (choking, suffocation and strangulation). This claims about 1,000 lives annually. Water related incidents, particularly drowning, are responsible for 800 deaths per year.
Children and Home Accident Statistics
Children have the highest risk for at home injury and accidents. More than 3.4 million children experience an unintentional
household injury every year and 2,300 children under 15 die from these unintentional injuries. The leading causes of childhood injury in the home are choking, suffocation, drowning, submersion, falls, fires and burns, guns and poisoning. Two children die as a result of being burned while over 300 children are treated in emergency rooms each year after suffering from burns. Scald burn injuries caused by hot liquids or steam are more likely to be sustained by younger children while older children more often sustain injuries from flame burns that are caused by direct contact with fire.
Drowning is the leading cause of death and injuries in children ages 1-4. Water can be seen as a high threat to children as they can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Little to no supervision is dangerous anytime young children are dealing with water in the home. And we hear sad stories all too often of a caretaker who neglects to monitor a child while they’re in the bath tub which results in a drowning accident.
Home Injury Prevention Tips
While statistics about home injury and fatalities are alarming, preventing them can be quite easy. Here are some simple ways to prevent the most common home injuries.
How to prevent falls
- Clear clutter! This is a very important thing to consider when preventing falls. Instead of placing items on the floor, put them in storage rooms, bins or closets to avoid hazardous footing.
- Get rid of rugs. They’re actually more likely to cause falls. If you don’t want to get rid of your rugs, put tape under small rugs to keep them from sliding.
- Safety proof stairs. Place a gate at the top of the banister and provide adequate handrails on both sides of the staircase. For small children, place safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and banister guard can help from little ones from slipping through the cracks. Adding attached carpeting or a runner to hardwood stairs can provide more traction to prevent sliding.
- Bathroom safety. Place grab bars and non-slip mats in your bathroom and bathtub.
- Light it up. Make sure there is sufficient lighting and night lights in the bathroom.
- Wear slippers or shoes with rubber soles. Walking around with socks makes for a slippery situation and walking barefoot could cause you to injure your foot which could trigger a fall.
How to prevent poisoning
How to prevent Choking and Suffocation
How to prevent water-related injuries and flooding
How to prevent fires and burns