Keep our family safe is probably our number one priority: an accident, robbery, natural disaster or any other harm that threatens you or a family member, will make everything else look unimportant. Yet the reality is that accidents and hazards around the home can do damage every day, so be proactive to prevent and to handle any emergency.
Unintentional home injuries cause about 21 million visits to emergency rooms, hospitals, and doctors every year, costing us $220 billion. In fact, more than 18,000 Americans die every year in their homes, which makes it the second most common location for such deaths.
Children often are the highest risk for injuries and accidents, with falling and drowning being the two most common causes. Every year, more than 3.4 million children suffer an unintentional injury, causing 2,300 childhood fatalities in those under 15 years of age.
The good news is that with some basic awareness, precautions and strategy as a family, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of an accident or injury at home, ensuring that your family and children are injury free.
In this blog, we’ll cover the top causes of accidents, injuries and death around the home. In part two, we’ll cover simple safety precautions and measures you can take to keep your family safe!
The most common threats to your family around the home:
Slip-and-falls are a surprisingly prevalent cause of injury and death around the home. In fact, the Home Safety Council reveals that falling is the leading cause of unintentional home injury death, claiming about 6,000 lives per year. 50% of all accidental home deaths are due to falls, and most of them are from standing level – not off ladders, roofs or stairways.
Seniors and elderly family members are especially susceptible to falling since 33% of people over the age of 65 will experience a fall every single year! In fact, 50% of all elderly adults hospitalized for a fall will be unable to return to home after the injury. Falling can often be seriously damaging for older people, often setting off a chain of medical problems that are hard to recover from.
You might be shocked to hear that poisoning is not far behind, taking nearly 5,000 lives each year, which makes it the second-most common cause of unnatural death around the house. The vast majority of these are caused by prescription and/or illegal drug overdose or mixing different substances with alcohol and prescriptions that cause an adverse medical reaction.The U.S. poison control centers answer about 2.2 million calls for human poison exposure every year, or an average of once every 15 seconds. Studies show that children younger than six years comprise a huge portion of poisoning accident victims, with one and two-year-olds in the most danger.
3. Home fires
The most common causes of home fires are:
Electrical malfunction: 9%
Other unintentional or careless (cigarettes are a major factor) 8%
Open flame: 6%
With all of our precautions and modern technology, home fires are still a significant danger. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), firefighters still respond to about 374,000 residential fires every year in the U.S. At that rate, we have a home fire every 10 seconds, and every 60 seconds a fire serious enough to call the fire department. Even more sobering, every three hours, someone loses their life to a fire in their home, about 13,000 a year on average.
Here are some average statistics about home fires:
Residential home fires each year: 374,000
Deaths each year from home fires: 2,600
Injuries due to home fires each year: 12,975
Annual dollar loss due to home fires: $7.32 billion
4. Airway obstruction
Airway obstructions – such as choking, suffocation, and strangulation—cause about 1,000 deaths around the home every year! That makes airway obstructions the fourth-leading cause of accidental home injury death. Children are far more likely to be seriously hurt or even killed by these types of accidents – especially young children, and 88% who die from airway obstruction injuries were children under age four. Nearly 19,000 emergency room visits every year are due to airway obstructions. The common causes include choking on food, choking on balloons they swallow or toys, strangulation by window blinds or cords or drawstrings from clothing.
Important fact: Many deaths that were first attributed to sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, are now reclassified as airway-obstruction fatalities.
5. Drowning According to the CDC, every year an average of 390 people die from drowning in a swimming pool. Accidental drowning and are the fifth leading cause of injury around the house, accounting for about 800 deaths per year. And contrary to popular parental belief, drowning is the overall leading cause of death and injury in children ages one through four. Having a backyard pool or hot tub increases the possibility of drowning exponentially, but children can drown or choke in as little as two inches of water.
While swimming pools are a fun luxury for the family, there is no arguing that they should be used with vigilant caution when it comes to kids and adults. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 4,900 people receive emergency care for injuries related to swimming pools or spas each year.
Now that you know these top causes of home accidents, please prepare accordingly, educate your family, and stay safe!