NSC Warns of Potential Hazards Over Labor Day Weekend

Almost as many Americans will die from falls, drowning and other incidents in their homes and communities as will be killed in highway crashes this Labor Day weekend, the National Safety Council said.

Almost as many Americans will die from falls, drowning and other incidents in their homes and communities as will be killed in highway crashes this busy Labor Day weekend, the National Safety Council warned.

NSC estimates that 474 people may died and 25,100 people may suffer nonfatal disabling injuries in motor vehicle crashes over Labor Day weekend.

The lives of an additional 345 people involved in crashes, however, will be saved because they will be wearing their seat belts, the council said.

"Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the danger associated with driving during the holidays," said NSC President Alan McMillan. "More importantly, they know what they can do to protect themselves -- by buckling their seat belts, and making sure children are securely restrained in the back seat in age-appropriate child safety seats. If everyone were to buckle up this Labor Day weekend, we would save an additional 128 lives."

On the other hand, McMillan said, many Americans don''t yet realize the full extent of the dangers lurking in their homes and communities.

"During the average period comparable to a long holiday weekend, 471 people will die from accidents in the home and community," said McMillan. "What''s more, while the highway death rate is slowly declining, deaths and serious injuries in the home and community are on the rise."

NSC estimates that about 6.9 million Americans suffered disabling injuries in the home in 1999, and nearly 28,000 died.

Falls in the home are the leading cause of accidental death, accounting for 9,600 deaths, or about one-third of all home fatalities.

To combat this growing problem, NSC offers the following advice:

  • Keep floors and stairs clear of clutter.
  • Install grab-bars in bathrooms next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
  • Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs in place. Use non-skid mats in the bathtub, on shower floors and on linoleum and tile floors.
  • Make sure living areas are well lighted.
  • Install handrails and lights in all staircases.
  • People of all ages can benefit from regular exercise. Low-impact exercises like Tai Chi help improve balance.

by Virginia Foran

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