Accidents in the Home: What Are the Odds?
Your home is your safe place.
It’s hard to imagine that an accident could happen within the four walls of your home, the place where you eat, sleep, and spend time with family. But according to the CDC, accidents happen all the time.
To the tune of
emergency room visits for unintentional injuries per year.
These statistics certainly aren’t comforting, but there is more to the story. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Within this article, we’ll discuss the top dangers lurking in your home and what you can do to minimize accident risk.
There’s another saying that is helpful in times like these:
Expect the best and prepare for the worst.
The truth is that more accidents occur at home than anywhere else.
Your home is where you spend the majority of your time, besides work or school. Young children under the age of five and elderly adults over age 65, especially over 75, are most likely to have an accident at home.
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury death, resulting in roughly 6,000 fatalities per year. Falls in the home can be especially dangerous because they are sudden; falls at home can often be fatal since you are more likely to be alone.
-The National Safety Council
Statistically, accidents in the home most commonly happen in the living area. Accidents among children are more likely to affect boys than girls. Household falls are just one danger among many—an estimated 18,000 Americans die each year from injuries sustained in the home. The odds of dying from a fall at home involving furniture are one in 4,238.
12 Most Common
Dangers in Your Home
A happy home is a healthy home. A healthy home is free from unnecessary hazards and toxins that could pose a danger to you and your family. Common household hazards are easy to overlook and may come with short-term to long-term risks.
You might have one of these 12 threats under your roof:
400 Americans die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year, with over 20,000 emergency room visits.
Causes & Symptoms of Carbon monoxide poisoning in your home
- Car left running in garage
- Blocked chimney/gas fires
- Corroded water heater pipes
- Gas or wood fires
- Cracked or leaking boiler
- Badly installed kitchen unit
- Operating a grill indoors or garage
- Kerosine or gas heater
Concentration of Co & symptoms
Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
Slight headache in two to three hours
Slight headache in two to three hours; loss of judgement
Frontal headache within one to two hours
Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
Headache, dizziness, and nausea in five to ten minutes; death within 30 minutes
Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes
Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes
Stair accidents are responsible for over 1 million emergency room visits a year.
The US Fire Administration confirms that there are 28,600 electrical fires each year.
The fire department responds to a house fire every 66 seconds in the US.
Fires are most likely to start in the kitchen, followed by the living room, bedroom, and storage areas. Common causes include unattended cooking, overloaded electrical wires, cigarettes, fireplace sparks, and old appliances. A full home inspection is recommended to manage fire hazards; test smoke alarms regularly and change batteries yearly.
Gas burners should never be used as a source of heat; this can increase risk of toxin exposure and the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to the EPA, up to 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons of water per day.
One female mouse may produce up to 10 litters a year.
The EPA confirms that up to 75% of US households own and use at least one pesticide.
most common poison exposures for young children and adults
national capital poison center, 2013
Childhood poisoning deaths have more than doubled since 1999.
One in six people in the US will get sick from eating contaminated food each year.
Indoor radon exposure kills more people each year than drunk driving—resulting in 21,000 lung cancer related deaths.
Tipping furniture and appliances resulted in 349 deaths between 2000 and 2011.
5 Most Common
Household Dangers for Kids
All of the above dangers apply to kids, but some household hazards can be even more harmful to children:
- The US Consumer Product Safety Commission considers bathtubs to be the most dangerous hazard for kids in a house. After pools, bathtubs are the second location where young children are most likely to drown. Always drain bathtubs and never leave a child unattended.
- Falls are still considered the top source of injury to young children—from windows, furniture, or stairs. Check your house for potential falling hazards; always use baby gates at the top of stairs.
- Young children are likely to put anything and everything in their mouth. Accidental poisoning is a prime concern among young children. Keep cleaning products out of reach and in a locked cabinet, if possible.
- Curious toddlers are likely to pull at items out of their reach. What’s more, kids may be stronger and faster than parents realize. Always keep cooking pots on the back burners of the stove and teach young children never to touch hot appliances.
- Choking is a major danger among infants and young children who are, again, likely to put objects in their mouth. Keep small items away from children and watch for suffocation and strangulation hazards, like hanging cords from window blinds.
5 Must Read
for every pet owner
In a best-case scenario, your pet could become sick after eating the wrong food or digging in the trash. At the worst, a beloved pet could die after ingesting commercial insecticides or rodent poison. The American Humane Society confirms that beyond the obvious toxins, there are a number of household items that can prove lethal to pets.
Here are 5 must-read pet-proofing tips for every pet owner
As a pet owner, you may not think twice about the plants you have potted around the house. However, the AHA urges pet owners to research all indoor plants as many are poisonous to pets; specifically, plants in the hibiscus family can cause cardiac shock, irregular heartbeat, renal failure, and even death in animals.
It’s a well-known wives’ tale that cats are attracted to antifreeze. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol that has a sweet taste. Even when consumed in small amounts, antifreeze can be deadly to pets. It only takes one teaspoon to kill a 7 pound cat.
When dealing with mice in a home with pets, glue traps and live traps are recommended. It’s also important to discourage dogs and cats from eating outside rodents that may have been killed with poison; secondary poisoning can be deadly.
Medicinal pills, creams, and liquids should be kept in a locked medicine cabinet at all times, especially harsher drugs like painkillers. Animals can chew through packaging and ingest potentially lethal human medication.
If you’re looking for one good reason to wean your pet off table food, consider that many human foods are toxic to animals. The Pet Poison Helpline cites chocolate, sugar-free gum and candy, and grapes as the most toxic foods for dogs.
- “Prevent Falls In and Outside of Your Home.” Safety at Home: Falls.
- Cox, Lauren. “5 Experts Answer: What Are the Most Dangerous Items in a Home?” LiveScience.
- “Home Gas Ranges Produce Toxic Gases, Lawrence Berkeley Lab Study Says.” San Jose Mercury News.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Website. Unintentional poisoning fatalities and injuries, children ages 19 and under.
- “Radon: A Danger in Your Home.” The Dr. Oz Show.
- “Pets & Poisons.” americanhumane.org.
- “Common Household Dangers for Pets: The Humane Society of the United States.”humanesociety.org.