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The Most Dangerous Items in Your Home

Warning: May Cause Severe Injury

Ever fallen off a ladder? Cut your hand while chopping onions? Bounced off a trampoline onto a picket fence?

Sure you have! Every year millions of people injure themselves due to unfortunate accidents with a consumer product around the house. And now, courtesy of the National Safety Council, we know which of these products are associated with the most emergency room visits in the U.S.

Every year, the nonprofit organization teams up with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather information from emergency rooms, reviewing doctors’ reports to determine which consumer products and common household items are associated with the various injuries. By extrapolating the data to the rest of the country, they’re able to provide an approximation of how many Americans are sent to the hospital every year because of accidents involving various products (they note, however, that the product in question isn’t necessarily responsible for the injury).

Here, then, are the top 10 products that led to emergency room visits in 2008, the most recent year of data available.

Photo Credit: Steve Ryan

10th Most Dangerous: Cabinets, Racks and Shelves

Emergency Room Visits: 276,285

Cabinetry checks in as the 10th-greatest menace to Americans minding their own business. We suppose there are a lot of jammed fingers involved here, though there might also be some poorly-constructed shelves collapsing at inopportune times.

Photo Credit: Matty Farah

9th Most Dangerous: Doors

Emergency Room Visits: 313,122

According to the NSC, this category does not include glass doors or garage doors, which is surprising. After all, it’s not hard to imagine people running through a very well-cleaned glass door, or attempting to roll Indiana Jones-style under a garage door. But apparently these were just plain old doors sending more than 300,000 Americans to the hospital, presumably through slammed fingers and stubbed toes.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Lu

8th Most Dangerous: Ceilings and Walls

Emergency Room Visits: 313,127

Remember, America: Walls are hard. So are ceilings. Remember that the next time you’re about to punch a wall in anger or jump on a trampoline in a room with a low ceiling. Otherwise you might wind up like the 300,000 people getting sent to the emergency room every year due to an interaction with an unforgiving surface.

Photo Credit: tercerojista

7th Most Dangerous: Tables

Emergency Room Visits: 317,856

Another item that appears on this list due to its ubiquity in American homes, this category encompasses all tables except TV stands and baby changing tables. That’s a whole lot of people stubbing toes on table legs, falling through glass coffee tables, and crashing to the floor after sitting on what they thought was a sturdy table.

Photo Credit: Mr Jonathan Ice

6th Most Dangerous: Chairs

Emergency Room Visits: 338,948

If you have trouble imagining how more than 300,000 injuries can result from using chairs, just think how many chairs you have in your house. Now multiply that by all the households in the U.S. Between flimsy chairs collapsing, people tripping over chairs, people hurting their backs getting out of chairs and teenagers using folding chairs to practice wrestling moves in the backyard, it’s not surprising that chairs are involved in so many injuries.

Photo Credit: Lee Haywood

5th Most Dangerous: Knives

Emergency Room Visits: 415,539

It may sound paradoxical, but chefs say it’s safest to keep your kitchen knives as sharp as possible, as blunt knives are more prone to slipping off whatever you’re cutting. Of course, some people are just naturally clumsy, in which case a sharp knife is only going to do more damage. In that case, we’d recommend investing in a Slap Chop.

Photo Credit: Emily Walker

4th Most Dangerous: Bicycles

Emergency Room Visits: 516,261

It looks like a lot of people jumped the gun when they got their training wheels removed. More than half a million Americans wound up with ER-worthy injuries from riding a bike in 2008.

Photo Credit: Simon Davison

3rd Most Dangerous: Beds

Emergency Room Visits: 563,922

Think you’re “safe and sound” in your own bed? Think again. Presumably most of these people hurt themselves falling out of bed, but we’re not willing to rule out people getting folded up in sleeper sofas.

Photo Credit: Stephen Brace

2nd Most Dangerous: Floors or Flooring Materials

Emergency Room Visits: 1,209,603

We had to check with the NSC on this one to make sure it wasn’t double-counting every time someone fell off a ladder or chair and wound up on the floor. In fact, that’s not the case: This refers only to “same-level” falls where a ladder or stool was not involved. That means a solid 1.2 million Americans suffered from unprovoked attacks by the floor beneath their feet in 2008. Poor souls never saw it coming.

Photo Credit: Brian Suda

The Most Dangerous: Stairs or Steps

Emergency Room Visits: 1,213,55

While a lot of people are terrified of plunging to their doom in an elevator, it looks like that fear is unfounded: Just 20,000 injuries stemmed from the use of elevators, escalators or moving walkways in 2008. By contrast, approximately 1.2 million people were sent to the emergency room in 2008 due to injuries related to stairs or steps. Watch your step, America.

Photo Credit: Claire Schmitt

DIY Disasters

Want to become a statistic? Try doing housework better left to the professionals and see how quickly you rack up the injuries. Check out our roundup of the biggest mess-ups in DIY history.

Photo Credit: lachlanhardy

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