Top Causes of Unintentional Injury and Death in Homes and CommunitiesBy Leslie Terjesen on Tuesday, April 12, 2016
According to Injury Facts 2016, about 136,053 people died from unintentional-injury-related deaths in 2014. That's 136,053 times someone's ordinary day turned tragic.
Often, these tragedies happen when least expected – during a vacation, while doing chores at home or while driving across town. NSC encourages everyone to be aware of hazards related to leisure and recreational activities and take proper safety precautions. Here, in order, are the top causes of unintentional injury and death in homes and communities.
In 2011, poisonings overtook motor vehicle crashes for the first time as the leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death for all ages combined. Poisoning deaths are caused by gases, chemicals and other substances, but prescription drug overdose is by far the leading cause. Learn more about this epidemic and other poisons in the home.
#2: Motor Vehicle Crashes
No one wakes up thinking they will lose a loved one in a car crash, but motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death overall. Impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding and inexperience can cause a life to be cut short in the blink of an eye. Everyone has a role in making our roads safer.
More than 29,000 people died in falls in 2013. Falling is the third leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all age groups, but it's the #1 cause of death for those 71 and older, according to Injury Facts 2015. The good news: Aging, itself, does not cause falls. Learn what you can do to help protect older loved ones.
#4: Choking and Suffocation
Suffocation is the fourth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all age groups. Choking on food or other objects is a primary cause of suffocation. Deaths rates rise rapidly at about age 74 and peak at 84. It is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for people 87 and older. Know signs of choking and how to react.
Not including boating incidents, about 10 people drown every day. It's the fifth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all ages, and the #1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, mostly due to children falling into pools or being left alone in bathtubs. Learn how to keep yourself and your family safe.
#6: Fires and Burns
Fire is the sixth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all ages. About 2,200 deaths were caused by burns and injuries related to fire in 2013. Often fires start at night, when family members are asleep. A working smoke alarm will cut the chances of dying in a fire in half. Learn more fire safety tips here.
#7: Natural and Environmental Incidents
Disasters are front-page news even though lives lost are relatively few compared to other unintentional-injury-related deaths. Weather-related disasters claim hundreds of lives per year. NSC encourages families to follow safety tips related to specific weather emergencies, and always have an emergency kit on hand.