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Gun accidents down, but other home accidents on the rise

Gun accidents down, but other home accidents on the rise

Accidental deaths from firearms have declined, but other deadly accidents at home are increasing. More than 30,000 people die from them each year, according to a new study. Poisoning, mostly from unintentional drug overdoses, and falls are the most common, especially among adults, while suffocation and drowning are the deadliest accidents for children.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at data from 2000 to 2008. The three leading causes of accidental injuries were poisonings (43 percent), falls (34 percent), and fire or burn injuries (9 percent).

Looking at leading cause of death from unintentional home injury by age:
Infants less than one year old: suffocation
Children aged one-four years old: drowning
Children aged five through 14: Fire/burns
Adults aged 15-59: poisoning
Adults aged 60 and older (and particularly high for those 80 and older): falls

The good news is that accidents at home are highly predictable and preventable. The researchers point to key safety interventions you can implement in your home, such as limiting access to prescription medications, supervising children, and having smoke alarms that work.

As the authors of this study conclude: “Although injury statistics can guide practice and research, a more powerful force is the people behind the statistics whose lives can be spared and disabilities prevented through the application of effective injury prevention strategies at home.”

See our advice on:
Preventing falls
Smoke alarms
Fire extinguishers
Dangerous baby products to avoid
Drowning hazards

Source: Mack, K. et al. (2013) Fatal Unintentional Injuries in the Home in the U.S.: 2000-2008, American Journal of Preventive Medicine. March, 44.

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