It's easy to overlook the dangers that lurk in our own homes. Millions of Americans are injured every year due to common household products. While it's not possible to completely eliminate the risks of everyday hazards, it is possible to protect yourself by learning more about the dangers. Awareness is the first step toward reducing devastating injuries.
According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, these are some of the most hazardous household dangers Americans face:
- Trampolines contribute to nearly 100,000 injuries nationwide every year, especially head, neck and spinal cord injuries. Most of the victims are children. Safety features such as netting reduce, but don't eliminate, the risk.
- Skateboards are also involved in more than 100,000 injuries every year - again, mostly among children. Teenage boys in particular are more prone to overestimating their abilities and engaging in risky behavior. Keep your kids safe by insisting that they always wear helmets, elbow pads, kneepads and other protective gear.
- ATVs cause more than 120,000 injuries and nearly 200 deaths every year. Their high speed, lack of safety features and tendency to tip over make them extremely dangerous, especially among young and inexperienced operators.
- Ladders and stepstools lead to more than 130,000 injuries and 30 deaths every year. Falls are often due to user error, but injuries also happen because of negligence on the part of the manufacturer.
- Power tools - ranging from table saws to drills to nail guns - are culprits in nearly 200,000 injuries and 30-plus deaths every year. Many of these accidents result from improper use. However, lack of safeguards, unclear warnings or defective features can also contribute.
- Bicycles play a role in more than 600,000 injuries and 350 deaths. Riders of all ages can reduce their risk of an accident by wearing helmets, observing all traffic laws and paying attention.
- Stairs, surprisingly, are perhaps the biggest hazard we all face on a daily basis. More than one million people are injured on stairs every year, and more than 300 people lose their lives. It's easy to forget just how dangerous stairways can be. Always use caution going up or down stairs, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
Not every injury or death gives rise to a legal claim, but some do. Learn more about the legal issues surrounding these and other dangerous products as well as the rights of injury victims.