We’ve all had some accidents in our lives – no matter how cautious you are, bad luck can strike at any time.
However, sometimes those accidents can turn into something major, leading to serious injuries or even death. Unintentional injuries may be minor, but they can get serious in the blink of an eye.
What are Accidental Injuries?
Unintentional injuries are those that aren’t planned, and happened out of chance or bad luck. Unintentional injuries can be as minor as stubbing a toe, or as serious as drowning.
Why are Unintentional Injuries Serious?
In 2013 alone, there were 130,557 deaths resulting from an accidental injury – nearly 70 percent of all injury deaths. That makes unintentional injuries the leading cause of injury death in America, the leading cause of death in Americans aged 1-42, and the #4 cause of death for all ages.
These are the unintentional injuries which most commonly lead to death, according to the National Safety Council.
Poisoning has recently overtaken car crashes as the top cause of unintentional death, primarily due to the prescription drug abuse epidemic. The over-prescription of opioids has led to a surge of deaths due to drug overdoses. 22,000 people every year die from opioid painkillers – and millions more are addicted and likely to succumb to drug overdoses. Worse yet, 70 percent of people addicted to opioids reported receiving them from loved ones.
Poisoning can be a very real possibility in normal circumstances as well. 90 percent of all poisoning cases occur around the house, due to common household items such as:
- Carbon monoxide
- Lead poisoning
- Household products such as pesticides and cleaning products
- Batteries, especially coin-sized types – serious injuries or deaths by ingesting these have increased nine-fold in the last ten years
Motor vehicle crashes have recently been dethroned by poisoning as the leading cause of accidental injury death, but don’t downplay its danger. Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children and adults aged 5-24 and the second leading cause for those 25 and older.
Distracted driving is one of the most deadly causes of car crashes: phone use accounts for nearly one-quarter of all crashes in a year.
Driving under the influence is also a serious problem as well. It’s never recommended to drive while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 10,000 fatalities due to crashes involving alcohol.
Other reasons include speeding, lack of seat belts, and simple lack of driving experience or skill. Because an automobile is such a dangerous object, anything other than 100% attention to driving can be a recipe for danger and disaster.
Accidental falls can be deceptively dangerous, especially for older people. Unintentional falls are actually the leading cause of injury-related death in individuals 65 and older. In 2015, over 33,000 people died from falls – and more than 25,000 of them were older adults.
Fortunately, falls are easily preventable. By simply removing clutter and reducing any chances where an individual can slip, trip, and fall, injuries and death from an accidental fall can be avoided.
Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental injury deaths in the United States. IN 2015, more than 5,000 people died from choking – and more than half were older than 74.
The most common methods of choking involve food getting lodged in your airway, restricting breath. This includes:
- Snacks with small diameters, such as nuts, grapes, and other deceptively small munchies.
- Snacks that have uncommon textures, such as chewy and dry foods. That include bagels, pretzels, and peanut butter.
Accidental drowning is more common than you think – from 2005-2014, there were about 3,536 deaths every year from unintentional drowning. That’s roughly ten deaths every day.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 2, and the second leading cause of death in children 3 to 6. It’s important to note that a good portion of these deaths don’t happen at pools or beaches, but rather in bathtubs and sinks. Keep a close eye on your kids when they’re taking a bath.
But drowning isn’t just reserved for minors: adults are equally at risk of drowning as well. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, only 56 percent of adults who consider themselves good swimmers are able to perform the water-safety skills necessary to save their lives, which includes:
- Treading water for one minute.
- Exiting a pool without using a ladder.
- Swimming 25 yards without stopping.
- Jumping into water over your head and returning to the surface.
Practicing these skills will go a long way in minimizing the risk of drowning in a pool or body of water. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone’s negligence, speak with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer for legal advice.