Preventable deaths are at an all-time high, according to data from the National Safety Council.
Poisonings, car crashes, falls, drowning, choking and fires lead as the most common preventable fatality causes, with the highest numbers recorded in July and August.
“Someone dies every 4 minutes because of something we know how to prevent,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO in a statement. “National Safety Month is the ideal time to pause and take stock of our own safety, because history tells us that the odds may not be in our favor during the summer months.”
According to the data, a total of 117,041 people died from accidental causes in July and August between 2011 and 2015.
Despite the overall mortality rate decreased across the United States, the number of preventable deaths, driven by prescription opioid use and motor vehicle deaths, continues to climb. The overall number of preventable deaths in 2015 totaled 146,571, a 7 percent increase over 2014.
The NSC has provided the following tips to reduce the risk of preventable deaths:
- Understand the specific risks facing you and your family.
- Ask your doctor for alternatives to highly addictive opioid painkillers, which are not the most effective way to treat pain and often serve as gateway drugs to heroin.
- Store medications in a locking medicine cabinet, and keep all medicines up and away from small children.
- Refrain from using a cell phone behind the wheel – even hands-free.
- Designate a sober, alcohol and drug-free driver.
- Fall-proof your home by securing rugs, installing handrails on staircases and placing no-slip mats in the bathtub.
- Before heading to the pool or beach, make sure everyone knows how to swim and someone in the group has been trained in First Aid and CPR.
- To prevent children from choking, cut food into small pieces and avoid giving them hard candy.
- Develop an escape plan and practice a family drill in case of a house fire.