Accidental deaths in the U.S. are increasing at an alarming rate according to data recently released by the National Safety Council (NSC). Over the last 10 years, the rate of accidental death has jumped by more than 20%. In fact, accidents are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 41, with approximately one death occuring every 5 minutes. The top-ranking causes of accidental death are as follows:
- Vehicle crashes
The NSC report has calculated the annual expense of accidents in the U.S. to be approximately $625.5 billion — or about $5,500 per household. More than half of all fatal injuries, and 75% of all disabling ones, occur very near the home.
Accidental deaths, of course, are largely preventable. One of the first steps in preventing them is increasing the awareness of dangers. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has identified the following areas of many homes to pose fall hazards, and offers this advice for preventing personal injuries:
- Provide enough light to see steps clearly.
- Keep stairs free of clutter.
- Cover stairs with tightly woven carpet or non-slip treads.
- Install sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairway.
- Keep a night-light on in the bathroom.
- Use bathroom rugs with nonskid backing.
- Install handrails in the bathtub and toilet areas.
- Place a rubber mat or nonskid strips on the bathtub / shower floor.
- Leave the bathroom door unlocked, so it can be opened from both sides.
- Avoid climbing and reaching to high shelves.
- Use a stable step stool with handrails.
- Arrange storage at counter level.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen and don’t wax floors.
- Arrange furniture to provide an open pathway between rooms.
- Remove low tables, footrests and other items from the pathway.
- Keep electrical and telephone cords out of the pathway.
- Remove throw rugs, extension cords, and other floor clutter.
- Install a bedroom night-light.
- use a normal-height bed. Before leaving your bed, sit on the edge for a time to make sure you are not dizzy.
- Wear low-heeled shoes with non-skid soles.
- Tied shoes with a fairly snug fit are preferred, but keep the laces tied.
- Avoid shoes with thick heavy soles.”
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- CPSC’s “Top 5” Hidden Home Hazards
- Public Citizen warns consumers of stove tipping dangers
- Lead poisoning dangers associated with home paint
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