A report recently released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) illustrates the safety concerns that older individuals confront in and around their homes. The report follows Consumer Protection Week, which was commemorated across the country earlier this month. Despite accounting for less than 20% of the population, Americans over the age of 65 account for 71% of product-related deaths, according to CPSC data.
Home products that appear to be safe can actually offer a higher risk than you might realize. In fact, certain home goods are to blame for sending millions of elderly people to the hospital each year for nonfatal ailments. These items can potentially cause fatal harm to unknowing customers; they account for about 3,800 deaths each year.
The purpose of the CPSC’s report is to inform consumers about the dangers that older Americans confront. It also includes practical advice on how to improve basic safety in all aspects of one’s house. Keep reading to learn about these dangers and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you or your elderly loved one has been injured by a fall or fire.
What are the specific dangers that older Americans face?
The majority of product-related injuries suffered by older people are caused by falls. An average of 1,800 people are killed as a result of these falls. Every year, there are 1.5 million deaths and 1.5 million injuries treated in emergency rooms.
The majority of slips, trips, and falls occur on stairwells, floors, and steps, as well as from beds. Although falls are the most common hazard for senior citizens, they are far from the only one. The following are some of the other risks identified in the CPSC report.
According to the CPSC, people aged 65 and up are 3.5 times more likely than the general population to die in a fire. The principal sources are materials for cooking and smoking. Clothes fires disproportionately harm the elderly; the CPSC believes that people in this age range are 14 times more likely than those under 65 to die in a clothing fire. Each year, roughly 930 older Americans are killed in product-related fires.
Every year, more than 200 older people are killed in accidents involving bicycles, e-scooters, and off-highway vehicles. Every year, over 300 people aged 65 and up die as a result of drowning. Swimming pools, bathtubs, and spas account for the majority of these fatalities. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious problem. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by sources such as heaters, generators, and other engine-driven tools.
Entrapment in the bed rail. Portable bed rails can usually keep at-risk or elderly people from falling out of their beds. Many of these bed rails, despite professing to be helpful, fail to meet critical safety regulations and requirements. Bed rails that are unsafe or malfunctioning can cause entrapment and asphyxia. Between the mattress or bed and the bed rail, between bed rail bars, or between a dresser and the bed rail, victims might become caught, stuck, wedged, or imprisoned.
Product safety tips to reduce injuries and deaths
It is the responsibility of product producers, suppliers, and sellers to create and sell safe items. Manufacturers frequently ignore their ethical and legal commitments, prioritizing profit over consumer safety. Fortunately, there are methods that people can take to reduce the risks that particular goods pose. Here are a few examples from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that can help lessen the risks that older Americans face:
- Do not smoke in bed
- Handrails should be installed on both sides of any stairwell in your home
- Keep the stairwell clean and well-lit
- Maintain a clean and slip-resistant floor
- Remove tripping hazards such as loose carpets, cords, and other items. Ensure that any rugs, mats, and other non-skid surfaces are in good condition
- Install smoke alarms outside sleeping areas and within each bedroom on every level of the house. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on each floor of the house.
- Double-check that your home’s portable adult bed rails haven’t been recalled. Do not use them if they have. If you’re buying new adult portable bed rails, make sure they comply with ASTM F3186 – 17, Standard Specification for Adult Portable Bed Rails and Related Products.
- Have a professional inspect the furnace for carbon monoxide and fire concerns before turning it on.
- Never use a portable generator in your house. Generators should be operated only outside, at least 20 feet away from the house, and never close to windows or vents.
- Never use engine-powered tools inside the house, even if it’s just for a few minutes or to do repairs.
- When riding four-wheelers, e-scooters, or bicycles, keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and wear suitable safety gear.
A victim may have a products liability claim if a product causes an injury due to an unsafe design, a manufacturing flaw, or a failure to provide adequate warnings and instructions. Because product liability cases are so sophisticated and complicated, it’s best to have an experienced litigator on your side. You can contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now for a free legal consultation.