While there is no absolute way to avoid all accidental injuries, being aware of the most common causes can help you reduce your chances of injury and avoid the distress that they can bring.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information found in 2016 and 2017 accidental falls made up a whopping 32% of all of the injury- and trauma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
You’re most likely to experience an injury from a fall in your own home, but it is easy to limit the risk. Falls can be prevented by simply being aware of potential problem areas, keeping your environment clean and tidy, and staying on top of tricky weather conditions. Little things like adding a non-slip mat in your shower and de-icing walkways can make a big difference in preventing a serious fall.
Being active is important for your health, but it also increases your risk of injury. Injuries incurred while exercising can be much more severe than just a break or a sprain, especially when it comes to contact sports where concussions and head injuries are more common. Head injuries in particular can have debilitating long-term effects.
Make sure to take all the safety precautions available for the activities you participate in, and don’t push yourself harder than you and your body are comfortable with.
Car crashes can be devastating. In 2016 alone, they caused 1,898 fatalities, over 10,000 serious injuries, and over 160,000 non-serious injuries according to Transport Canada. Most of those injuries were to the drivers, but passengers and pedestrians each account for around 19% and 18% respectively.
You can’t control what the other drivers on the road do, but you can control the road safety (and crosswalk and sidewalk safety) tactics you take. Practice those driving skills that don’t come quite as naturally to you and monitor the driving styles and potential hazards for drivers when you’re walking along roadways.
When you think of accidental poisoning, you’re probably picturing a kid getting into a cupboard and mistaking a cleaning product for blue Gatorade. That is a serious problem but the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in Ontario is actually carbon monoxide poisoning.
Both situations sound terrifying, but they can both be easily prevented. Store your cleaning products in a secure place out of reach of children. Luckily, in Ontario carbon monoxide detectors are now mandatory for homes with fuel-burning appliances or storage garages, so all you need to do is ensure it’s up and running.
Thankfully, the rate of drownings in Canada has been on a substantial decline since the 1990s. Still, drowning incidents are most likely to affect those aged 20-24 or 55-59.
These occur mostly in large bodies of water, but also in bathtubs, with Ontario leading the pack in that category. Out of all the drowning incidents in 2015, only 1% happened in areas monitored by a lifeguard, so it’s a good idea to stick to monitored locations.
Some common causes of accidental drownings that you can easily avoid include not wearing a floatation device, consuming alcohol, going into or on the water alone or after dark, or not having adequate swimming skills.
Suffocation or choking
Choking and suffocation hazards are sadly most dangerous for babies and young children, but they can be avoided if you minimize the hazards in your home and have a plan of action in the event that something were to happen.
There are lots of safety regulations in place for children’s toys, so just be sure to read the labelling carefully, looking for things like recommended age range and how to properly dispose of packaging. You should also ensure food for children under four is soft and grated or cut in small pieces.
As for a plan of action, taking a child and adult CPR course won’t just ensure you know what to do in an emergency, but it will also mean you can deal with that emergency in a calm, confident manner.
Burns can come from harsh chemicals, fire, electricity, friction, hot objects, liquids, or steam. Most burns come from hot objects, liquids, or steam, and while they are mostly just superficial burns that heal relatively quickly, the average length of a hospital visit for burns is no less than 14 days, 27 days for more serious burns.
As with all of the causes on this list, they are preventable by taking little measures like making sure there are fresh batteries in your smoke detector and ensuring there aren’t any handles sticking out when you’re cooking with pots and pans.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any way, contact Helping Hand to consult with a legal professional at 1-888-288-HURT.