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Top Causes of Unintentional Injury and Death in Homes and Communities

  • According to Injury Facts 2015, about 93,200 people died from unintentional-injury-related deaths in 2013. That's 93,200 times someone's ordinary day turned tragic.

    Often, these tragedies happen when least expected – during a vacation, while doing chores at home or while driving across town. 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.


    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 29,000 people died in falls in 2013. 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 71 and older, according to Injury Facts 2015. The good news: Aging, itself, does not cause falls. Learn what you can do to help protect older loved ones.




    Choking on food or other objects is the fourth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all age groups. Deaths rates rise rapidly at about age 74 and peak at 84. It is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for people 87 and older. Know signs of choking and how to react.




    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.


    Fires and Burns


    Fire is the sixth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all ages. About 2,200 deaths were caused by burns and injuries related to fire in 2013. 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.


    Cataclysmic Weather and Other Disasters


    Disasters are front-page news even though lives lost are relatively few compared to other unintentional-injury-related deaths. But weather-related disasters do claim hundreds of lives per year. NSC encourages families to follow safety tips related to specific weather emergencies, and always have an emergency kit on hand.

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We Don't Stop There


The National Safety Council wants to help you stay safe in all areas of your life. We have researchers and statisticians working all the time to keep you up to date on the best ways to keep yourself and your family safe.

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The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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