According to Injury Facts 2017, about 146,571 people died from unintentional injury-related deaths in 2015. That’s 146,571 times someone’s ordinary day turned tragic.
These deaths are at an all-time high. Often, these tragedies happen when least expected – during a vacation, while doing chores at home or while driving across town – and they are all preventable. 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 33,000 people died in falls in 2015. 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 65 and older, according to Injury Facts 2017 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, and choking on food or other objects is a primary cause. Suffocation is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for people 87 and older. Mechanical suffocation is the #1 cause of death for infants. Learn prevention and rescue tips.
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 2,646 deaths were caused by burns and injuries related to fire in 2015. 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 learn all they can about emergency preparedness, and always have an emergency kit on hand.