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According to the National Safety Council and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there were 200,955 preventable injury-related deaths in 2020, and 78% resulted from unintentional household injury at home. This makes the most common home accidents the second leading cause of death and injuries, followed by motor vehicle crashes.
It’s more concerning because most unintentional home injury deaths are preventable. Here’s a more detailed overview of home accident statistics.
Knowing the hazards at home goes a long way in injury prevention. You might not be able to prevent them, but you can reduce the number of times accidents occur.
Here are the five most common household accidents:
Poisoning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States. Most such deaths are attributed to drug abuse and misuse and inhaling or ingesting environmental substances like carbon monoxide and pesticides.
Child poisoning accounts for the most accidents and is often a result of exploratory behavior. The child (younger than 13 years) may ingest dangerous chemicals leading to death.
On the other hand, adult drug poisonings are drug-related. They may result from:
Falls are another common cause of unintentional injury deaths accounting for 72% of injury-related ER admissions. Statistics also show that 6 out of 10 falls happen at home when walking on stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living spaces.
The elderly population (65 years and older) is prone to fall-related injuries and fatalities, and the risk increases with age. That’s because older people have walking and coordination problems that can lead to falls.
One in three older adults falls at least one time a year. According to WHO, 20-30% of older people who fall develop moderate to severe injuries like head trauma, hip fractures, and bruises. A hip fracture can be a huge problem for older adults as it limits mobility and can lead to other health problems.
Kids are also a high-risk group. Statistics show that 2.2 million kids aged 14 and under are treated for fall-related home injuries yearly in U.S. emergency rooms. Although most falls are non-fatal, about 100 kids younger than five report the highest number of falls and fall-related fatalities. This age group comprises babies and toddlers who develop head injuries because their heads hit the ground first. Head injury is the most common cause of accidental death resulting from falls.
House fires are pretty common regardless of where you live. Most of them happen unexpectedly and can get out of control, causing serious property damage and one’s life. A homeowners insurance policy goes a long way in paying for repairs required after a house fire, but it’s best to know the different causes of house fires and have injury prevention strategies in place.
Here are some interesting home injury statistics about house fires according to the National Fire Protection Association:
Most house fires happen when cooking. In fact, the NFPA traces 172,900 home fires to cooking, accounting for 49% of all the reported home fires in the United States. This is especially true in multi-family homes and apartments, where an estimated 69% of kitchen fires happened, based on a 2020 report.
Smoking materials like lighters and cigarettes also cause home fire deaths. More data on home fire deaths found that 600 people had died and 1,030 were injured due to smoking materials.
Home fires also result from intentional fires. The four-year report found that 7% of the fires reported between 2015 and 2019 were intentional. Although they have a low fatality rate, it causes 380 deaths and 800 unintentional injuries yearly.
The following table summarizes the five most common causes of home fires and their impact according to NFPA’s Home Structure Fires Report:
Although it’s deemed a rather mild accident, it’s the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. In 2020, for example, 4,963 people died from choking, with the elderly accounting for most incidents. Of those who died from choking in 2020, 1,430 were 74 years and older.
Weakened muscles, dry mouth, and dentures can lead to choking in elderly people. However, the incidence of one dying from choking is pretty low (1 in 2,535), and in 2020 it was much lower as only 1.5 deaths happened in a population of 100,000. Choking is also pretty common in young children. They might not choke on food but small objects like toys and small parts.
According to the State of Safety Report, drowning is another common home accident, but the least feared. That’s because kids are the most common casualties though adults also die from drowning.
According to a CDC report on drowning, more kids aged 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause. It’s the second leading cause of unintentional injury for children ages 1-14.
Adult-related drownings are also pretty common, with 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings and 8,080 non-fatal ones happening yearly. Many fatal accidents involve male adults due to increased water exposure, alcohol use, and risk-taking behaviors.
Racial disparities also increase one’s risk of drowning. Alaska natives or the American Indian people aged 29 and younger are two times more likely to drown than White people.
Similarly, people of color are 1.5 times more likely to die from drowning than White people. Most drowning-related emergencies require hospitalization and may cause brain injuries and other long-term disabilities.
Most common home accidents can be prevented by following simple home safety tips.
Keeping a home safe goes a long way in mitigating the most common accidents. Here are some ways to keep your home safe from falls:
Most home fires can be prevented. You can minimize the risk of fire gutting down your home with the right safety precautions. Here are a few handy tips:
Here are ways to prevent choking in kids and adults:
Learning how to prevent drowning accidents can reduce the number of accidents reported. Here are tips to help you:
These home accident statistics show an increased prevalence of home accidents and echo the need for homeowners to follow simple home safety procedures. No accident is too small not to cause death or injury. The tips we’ve shared will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.
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