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Injury and Accident Factoids


“Now and then there is a person born who is so unlucky that he runs into accidents, which started to happen to somebody else.”

—Don Marquis


June 7, 2006

  • Each year there are 27 million visits to hospital emergency departments for injuries.
  • A fatal injury occurs every 5 minutes and a disabling injury occurs every 1.6 seconds.
  • Falls are the leading causes of nonfatal unintentional injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (7.0 million visits) followed by motor-vehicle crashes (4.6 million visits).
  • About 1 out of 19 people experience an unintentional injury in their home or community each year.
  • In the home there is a fatal injury every 16 minutes and a disabling injury every 4 seconds.
  • The four leading causes of fatal injury in the home and community are falls; poisoning; choking; drowning; and fires, flames and smoke.
  • U.S. poison control centers handle an average of one poison exposure every 15 seconds (Litovitz 2001).
  • Of the more than 2 million poison exposures, 52.7% occurred among children younger than age six (Litovitz 2001).
  • In 2000, 475,079 poison exposures were treated in a health care facility (Litovitz 2001).
  • The most common poison exposures for children were ingestion of household products such as cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning substances, pain relievers, foreign bodies, and plants (Litovitz 2001).
  • 54,400 fatalities occurred in the home and community or 54% of all injury-related deaths.
  • A death caused by a motor vehicle crash occurs every 12 minutes; a disabling injury occurs every 13 seconds.
  • The age groups most affected by motor vehicle crashes are 15-24 and 75+.
  • There is an alcohol-related traffic death every 30 minutes and a nonfatal injury every 2 minutes.


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