Gun accidents down, but other home accidents on the rise

Gun accidents down, but other home accidents on the rise

Consumer Reports News: February 08, 2013 09:08 AM

Contrary to what you might expect from all the news about gun violence, accidental deaths from guns in the home are relatively uncommon, and have actually gone down slightly in recent years, according to a new study. But other deadly accidents at home, including poisonings, falls, and burns, are far more common, and on the rise. The good news: some simple measures can help prevent most of them.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at data from 2000 to 2008. More than 30,000 people die from accidents in the home each year, the study found. The three leading causes of accidental deaths were poisonings (43 percent), falls (34 percent), and fire or burn injuries (9 percent). Firearm mishaps accounted for just 1 percent of all accidental deaths in the home.

Poisoning, mostly from unintentional drug overdoses, and falls were the most common causes among adults. Suffocation and drowning were the deadliest accidents for children.

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

Fatal Unintentional Injuries in the Home in the U.S.: 2000-2008 [American Journal of Preventive Medicine]

Desiree Ferenczi

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