Friday, October 14, 2016

The top 5 causes of accident, injury and death at home (and how to prevent them!)

No matter who we are, where we live, how much money we make or what our lifestyle looks like, we all have on priority: to keep our family safe. The moment an accident, robbery, natural disaster or any other harm threatens your a family member, everything else falls to a distant second on your list of priorities. Yet the unfortunately reality is that accidents and other bad things around the home happen every day, so it’s best to be prepared to handle any emergency – or even better, prevent them from happening.

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 from in the home, which makes it the second most common location for such deaths.

Tragically, children often are the most at risk for injuries and accidents in the home. 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 preparedness as a family, you can drastically reduce the instance and severity of an accident or injury at home, ensuring that your family and children are as safe as possible.

In this blog we’ll cover the top five causes of accidents, injuries and death around the home. In part two of this blog we’ll cover simple safety precautions and measures you can take to keep your family safe!

So what are the major and most common threats to your family around the home?

1. Falling
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.

Surprisingly, 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! Falling can often be seriously damaging for older people, often setting off a chain of medical problems that are hard to recover from. In fact, 50% of all elderly adults hospitalized for a fall will be unable to return to home after the injury.

2. Poisoning
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 6 years comprise a huge portion of poisoning accident victims, with one and two-year olds in the most danger. 

3. Home fires
With all of our awareness, safety protocols, 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 other statistics about home fires:

374,000     Average number of residential home fires each year. 
2,600         Average number of deaths each year from home fires.
12,975       Average number of injuries due to home fires each year.
$7.32 billion   Average annual dollar loss due to home fires.

The most common causes of home fires are:

56%      Cooking.
16%      Heating.
9%        Electrical malfunction.
8%        Other unintentional or careless (cigarettes are a major factor)
6%        Open flame.
5%        Intentional.

4. Airway obstruction
You might be shocked to hear that 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. Unfortunately, children are far more likely to be seriously hurt or even killed by these accidents – especially young children.

In fact, 88 percent of children who die from airway obstruction injuries were children ages 4 and under, and there are nearly 19,000 emergency room visits every year due to airway obstructions. The common causes of choking or airway obstruction include choking on food, choking on balloons they swallow or toys, strangulation by window blinds or cords or drawstrings from clothing.

It’s worth noting that many deaths that were first attributed to sudden infant death syndrome have now been reclassified as airway-obstruction fatalities.         

5. Drowning
Accidental drowning and other submersions in water are the fifth leading cause of injury around the house, accounting for about 800 deaths every year. In fact, drowning is the overall leading cause of death and injury in children ages 1-4! Of course if a homeowner owns a backyard pool or hot tub the possibility of drowning is exponentially higher, but children can drown or become injured in as little as two inches of water.

While swimming pools can offer countless hours of enjoyment and fun for the family, there is no denying that they should be treated with extreme caution when it comes to your children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 4,900 people receive emergency care for injuries suffered in a swimming pools or spas each year. According to the CDC, every year an average of 390 people die from drowning in a swimming pool.

Look for part two of this blog, where we’ll cover simple safety precautions and measures you can take to keep your family safe!

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