Unintentional Injuries in the Home

Preventing Unintentional Poisonings

“About 146,571 people died from unintentional injury-related deaths in 2015, according to Injury Facts 2017.”

The good news: with the proper safety precautions and awareness of the hazards, these types of deaths and injuries are preventable.

Know Injury-Related Facts


The National Safety Council (NSC) publishes the annual statistical compendium on unintentional injuries and deaths. Injury Facts 2017 Edition is the go-to source for injury an death statistics.

Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

Top 7 Causes of Unintentional Injury and Death in the Home

Poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional-injury-related deaths. Poison control centers receive about 2.2 million calls from people every year looking for medical assistance. Poisoning typically happens accidentally, sometimes intentionally, and may be caused from taking too much of a drug or the wrong one, ingesting chemicals or being exposed to gases or chemicals.

Prescription drugs top the list when it comes to poisoning-related injuries and deaths, specifically opioid pain medications. Other poisons include things such as:

  • Radon gas and carbon monoxide
  • Lead poisoning
  • Household cleaners and pesticides

Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unintentional-injury-related deaths due to:

“Every day, about 100 people die in crashes and more than 1,000 suffer life-changing injuries.”

Falls are the third leading cause for all age groups; however, it is the number one cause for those age 65 and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • One in three older adults falls every year.
  • About 2.5 million nonfatal falls were treated in emergency departments in 2013.
  • More than 250,000 hip fractures are reported every year and 95% of those are from falls.

Choking and suffocation comes up next and is typically caused from choking on food or other objects. However, mechanical suffocation is the number one cause of death for infants.

A good defense is knowing the proper way to do the Heimlich Maneuver and/or CPR.

Drowning is the fifth leading cause for all ages, but it is the number one cause of death for children ages one to four. A few tips include:

  • Always watch children when bathing, swimming or around any water.
  • Empty all buckets, bathtubs and kiddie pools of water immediately after use. They are best stored upside down and out of reach.
  • Keep a phone and life preserver near the pool in case of emergency.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Swim in designated areas with lifeguards.

Fires and burns come in sixth. About 2,646 deaths were caused by burns and injuries related to fire in 2015.

  • Have a home fire drill day on a regular basis throughout the year.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and check the batteries on a regular basis.
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and have one where it can be easily located.
  • Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot.

Weather-related disasters rounds out the top seven, claiming hundreds of lives every year. Make sure you are prepared for disasters such as floods and tornadoes.

Lifetime of Risk Infographic

Download the Lifetime of Risk pdf
Lifetime of Risk Infographi (online)
Provided by the National Safety Council

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