The National Safety Council report on consumer product injuries provides data on product-related injuries in 14 categories, broken down into nearly 100 product groupings within those categories. This data analysis illustrates the most dangerous products which have been shown to cause injuries, either from product defects, accidents, or improper use, as well as the age groups which are most at risk for injury in each product category.
Note: These are national estimates of the number of persons treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments with consumer product-related injuries and are derived by summing the statistical weights for the appropriate injury cases. The data system allows for reporting of up to three products for each person’s injury, so a person’s injury may be counted in three product groups.
There are several products that have consistently ranked among the top 10 causing injuries in recent years. These include stairs, ladders, household furniture and appliances, toys, and sports equipment.
While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has not disclosed details about how the injuries were caused, the top 10 products causing injuries in 2021 are the following:
The product-related injury data shown in this analysis focuses on eight product categories which each include various numbers of specific product groupings within those categories. The total number of estimated injuries in each category is pictured below, with the top three categories causing injuries in 2021 being home structures, home furnishing, and sports and recreational equipment.
Based on the National Safety Council analysis of data collected from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, product injuries in each category have been broken down by age as shown below.
|Product Categories||Ages 0-4||Ages 5-14||Ages 15-24||Ages 25-64||Ages 65+|
|Child Nursery Equipment||63,036||3,293||2,230||10,877||3,223|
|Sports & Recreational Equipment||146,629||938,955||763,720||980,261||228,115|
|Personal Use/Grooming Items||69,111||36,628||53,159||220,950||145,530|
|Yard & Garden Equipment||4,478||11,782||15,154||143,218||87,187|
|General Household Appliances||12,980||10,961||17,152||83,100||37,622|
This data analysis dives into the number of injuries by age group and common causes of injury in each of the eight categories. To read more on the analysis of each product category, click the respective links below:
An estimated 82,658 injuries were caused by child nursery equipment across all ages. Given the nature and intended use of products in this category, children ages 0 to 4 years old had the most injuries at an estimated 63,036. The estimated number of injuries broken down into five age groups are as follows:
Child nursery equipment injuries most often occur due to falls, entrapment, suffocation, strangulation, burns, and cuts or bruises. These injuries can happen when nursery equipment such as changing tables, high chairs, cribs, playpens, strollers, or window blinds are misused or are defective. Product recalls for defective products are a common cause of injuries when a manufacturing company sells a product with design defects or fails to warn consumers of the associated dangers.
Falls are a leading cause of injury and can occur if children are not properly restrained or if the nursery equipment is not stable. Entrapment can also cause injuries if there are gaps or openings in the equipment that are large enough for a child’s body or head to get stuck. Infants and children can also suffer injuries from suffocation in cribs with soft bedding or if they become trapped between the mattress and the crib.
Across all ages, an estimated 170,392 injuries were caused by products in the toys category. The estimated number of product-related injuries caused by toys are broken down into the following age groups:
Children ages 0 to 4 years old have been shown to be most at risk for toy-related injuries. One of the most significant causes of toy-related injuries is poor product design or manufacturing defects. Toys that are not properly manufactured or are made with low-quality materials can break or malfunction, which creates risks for accidents and injuries. Toys that have small parts or are not appropriate for young ages can be a choking hazard for children.
Another common cause of toy-related injuries is lack of adult supervision. Children may not understand how to safely use a toy and end up using it in a way that it was not intended for, which can lead to accidental injuries. Supervising children playing with toys is an important injury prevention method as adults are able to carefully select toys that are appropriate for a child’s age and developmental stage.
Sports and recreational equipment products caused an estimated 3,057,673 injuries across all ages. Injuries caused by exercise equipment and bicycles fall under this category and are among the top 10 products causing injury in 2021. In comparison to the year before, the estimated number of exercise equipment-related injuries increased by about 8.3%. In 2021, an estimated total of 40,485 exercise equipment-related injuries resulted in deaths, while an estimated 368,739 injuries resulted in non-fatal outcomes.
The number of estimated injuries in this category broken down by age group are as follows:
One of the leading causes of sports and recreational equipment-related injuries is product defects. Equipment that is poorly designed or defective can be a factor contributing to injuries for consumers using the products. In some cases, sports and recreational equipment may be made with low quality materials or may have manufacturing defects, which can make them more likely to cause injury.
Another common cause of these injuries is improper use of equipment. Many sports require the use of helmets, padding, or other protective gear to prevent injuries. The misuse of sports equipment, such as not wearing helmets or pads properly during contact sports for example, can lead to serious head or neck injuries. Similarly, not following the instructions while using a piece of sports or exercise equipment can lead to injury. Using equipment in a way that it was not intended for, or using it without proper instruction or supervision, can increase the risk of serious injuries.
Data collected for injuries in this category includes products such as clothing, drugs/medication, grooming devices, and razors. Clothing-related injuries alone were among the top 10 products causing injury in 2021, with 362,388 injuries. While clothing-related injuries may sound obscure, these types of Injuries caused by clothing can include strangulation from long fabrics or jewelry, improperly worn clothing, or tight clothing which can restrict blood flow.
An estimated total of 525,379 product-related injuries were caused by personal use or grooming items. The number of injuries in each age group caused by products in this category are broken down as follows:
Personal use or grooming items that are poorly manufactured or have design defects can be a contributing factor to these types of product injuries. For example, a hair dryer with faulty wiring could cause burns or electrical shock injuries, or a razor with a loose blade could become detached and cause cuts. Another common cause of personal use or grooming product-related injuries is inadequate warning labels or instructions. Products which are not appropriately labeled with safety warnings or instructions for proper use can create risks for consumers to suffer injuries.
Yard and garden equipment contributed to an estimated total of 261,818 product-related injuries in 2021. Consumers ages 25 to 64 years old suffered a significantly greater number of injuries compared to the rest of the age groups. The breakdown of data on the number of injuries in each age group are:
Product-related injuries caused by yard and garden equipment are unfortunately common and can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries such as amputations and even death. The improper use and handling of yard and garden equipment is one of the leading causes of injury to consumers. Improperly using machinery such as lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and other garden equipment can be dangerous and create risks for serious injuries and accidents.
Another common cause of yard and garden equipment injuries is inadequate safety features. Some equipment may not have proper safety guards or other features to prevent injuries, putting users at a greater risk for accidental injury. Also, poorly designed or manufactured yard and garden equipment can be a factor contributing to consumer injuries from using the products.
The general household appliances category includes cooking ranges, ovens, refrigerators, small kitchen appliances, and washers and dryers. Products in this category contributed to an estimated 161,814 total injuries. Data shows that consumers ages 25 to 64 years old have suffered the most injuries in this category, likely given that they are the most active users of household appliances. The number of injuries broken down by age group are:
Similar to other product categories, one of the most significant causes of household appliance injuries is the improper use or handling of appliances. Many appliances, such as ovens, stovetops, and toasters, generate heat and can cause fires and result in burn injuries. While most household appliances can be hazardous when improperly used, inadequate safety features to prevent common accidents from occurring can be another cause of injuries. Some appliances may not have proper safety mechanisms to help prevent the risk of injury for users. Additionally, defective household appliances that have design or manufacturing defects can create risks for injuries if the product malfunctions or fails to safely perform as intended.
The home furnishings product category recorded an estimated total of 3,085,881 product-related injuries. Of all the product categories, home furnishings ranks second for causing the most product-related injuries in 2021. The top products causing injury in this category include chairs, sofas, beds, mattresses, pillows, bathroom fixtures, and tables. The number of injuries reported in each age group are as follows:
Home furnishing-related injuries are commonly caused by poorly designed or constructed furniture. Furniture that is not stable can result in injuries from falls, or furnishings that have sharp edges can cause cuts or puncture wounds. Products such as beds, mattresses, and pillows have caused injuries due to falls off of poorly structured bed frames, and suffocation or entrapment between mattresses and pillows, for example. Additionally, using furniture in ways which they are unintended for can create safety hazards and increase the risk of accidents occurring.
Products in the home structures category recorded the highest number of product-related injuries, contributing an estimated 3,905,928 total injuries across all ages. The most dangerous products causing injury in this category were stairs, ramps, landings, and floors. An estimated total of 2,727,809 injuries were caused by stairs, ramps, landings, and floors in 2021. Adults 65 or older, as well as children younger than 5, have the highest injury rates involving stairs, ramps, landings, and floors. The injury data breakdown by age in this category is:
One of the most common causes of these types of injuries is inadequate maintenance or repair of the structure. Homes that are not properly maintained can develop structural issues that can create hazards for residents. For example, a roof that is not properly maintained can develop leaks which could end up causing a roof collapse, resulting in various injuries.
According to the National Safety Council, fall injuries are the leading cause of non-fatal home injuries in the U.S., many of which are attributed to slips and trips on stairs or floors. Various factors can contribute to fall injuries including uneven surfaces, loose or damaged flooring or stairs, clutter, and wet or slippery surfaces. Older adults and young children are more vulnerable to slip and fall injuries in these conditions. However, it is important to remember that these types of injuries are preventable by keeping walking areas clear and being aware of the common slip and fall hazards.
Since 2017, total consumer product injuries have decreased around 20%. Over the past five years, 2020 saw the lowest number of product-related injuries with an 18% decrease from the year before. In 2021, the estimated number of product-related injuries increased slightly from 2020 at about 6%, however was still down 12.8% from 2019.
The leading product category causing the most deaths in 2021 was Home Structures with 806,440 hospitalized and dead on arrival. Within this category, the product grouping of Stairs, Ramps, Landings, & Floors contributed to the highest number of injuries at 2,727,809 and the highest number of deaths at 664,575.
The second leading product category causing the most deaths in 2021 was Home Furnishings with 578,073 hospitalized and dead on arrival. Within this category, the product grouping of Beds, Mattresses, & Pillows contributed to 824,182 injuries and 184,939 deaths.
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