Accidents can happen in a split second, whether you’re slicing through a bagel or cutting across a parking lot. The start of summer and more activities also mean the likelihood of accidents is, well, more likely.
But did you know many accidents that result in unintentional injury or death happen in or around the home?
According to National Safety Council (NSC) statistics, 136,053 people died in 2014 from unintentional injuries. That’s 372 people a day. One person every four minutes.
Be safer by being prepared. Here are the five most common causes on accidental deaths in the U.S., and what you can do to reduce your risks:
Number 1: Poisoning
Poisoning is the leading cause of death for people of all ages combined. Prescription medicine overdoses cause the highest number of deaths, but chemicals, gases, even those brightly colored laundry detergent pods play a part, too.
To be safe, take only the prescribed dosage of medicine and don’t mix medications. Call your pharmacist with any questions. Around the house, don’t mix cleaning products; use high-odor products like paints and thinners in well-ventilated areas; and always keep cleaners and detergents out of the reach of children.
Number 2: Motor vehicle accidents
While one of the most deadly, it’s also one of the most preventable causes of injury. Drivers who are distracted, impaired, sleepy, inexperienced, or speeding put other drivers at risk every day.
To be safe, don’t drive after drinking or taking medications that impair your abilities. Don’t use a cell phone while driving. Keep your complete focus on the road. This is especially true for less experienced drivers.
Number 3: Falls
Falls killed 29,000 people of all ages in 2013, and falling is the leading cause of accidental death in people over age 70. Does your home have fall hazards? Take a look around, and offer to do a spot check around the house of an older relative or neighbor.
To be safe, use non-skid pads to secure rugs and tack down any areas of loose carpeting, especially in doorways and on stairs. Make sure stairs have a sturdy handrail and always use it. Use a non-skid bath mat and install handrails in the shower or tub.
Number 4: Suffocation and Choking
While all age groups are at risk, young children and adults over age 74 have the highest incidence of death from choking. Food and small objects are the two main culprits.
To be safe, take small bites and chew food slowly (this childhood rule applies into adulthood). Solid foods like meat (especially hot dogs) and sticky foods like peanut butter are especially hazardous. Keep small objects away from babies and toddlers. Learn the Heimlich maneuver to save a life, including your own.
Number 5: Drowning
Did you know that 10 people drown each day, not including boating accidents? Sadly, children ages 1-4 are affected the most, from slipping into a swimming pool or being left alone in a bathtub.
To be safe, never leave a child alone near the water, whether it’s a bathtub, a swimming pool, or the ocean. Swim lessons for children and adults can be lifesavers. Use a PFD vest for children who cannot swim but are often around a pool.
Other Ways To Be Safe
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Change the batteries at least once a year (at New Year’s, with the daylight savings time change, on your birthday, or another memorable date).
- When a storm is imminent, seek shelter. While playing golf in a thunderstorm made for good humor in the movie Caddyshack, it’s best to go inside before a storm hits.
What tips do you follow for staying safe while at home or away?