What do stairs, floors, and beds have in common?

They have the highest probability of causing injury relative to all U.S. consumer products [unless you are under 18, see below 🙂 ].


How do Americans injure themselves?

This post aims to answer that question (at least in terms of consumer products) using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. I split this data a few ways, eventually showing how likely one is to injure him or herself by a given item based on his or her age.

(Note that many of the top objects are simply those that we interact with most on a daily basis, meaning that it’s difficult to compare across objects since the occurrence differs from person to person; ideally, one would normalize for this, but I did not have data)

Stairs and floors cause the most consumer product injuries in the United States:


Injury distribution by age:

injury_age_distribution (1)

The above box plot shows the age distribution of the 10 most common causes of injury.

Essentially, this shows that Basketball and Football have a tight average age range for injury (medians of ~17 and 16, respectively), where more innocuous objects like floors, chairs, and beds skew towards the older population. Also interesting to see that a few 80+ year olds were injured by basketball and football related products. (For those unfamiliar with interpreting box plots, this website provides a great, succinct explanation.)

Elderly folks (>65 years old) are injured by common, unassuming things:


41-65 year-olds are also injured by unassuming things, along with knives, bicycles, and exercise:

top10_productinjuries_41to65 top10_productinjuries_19to40 (1)

Kids (18 and under) are more commonly injured by sports/activities rather than household objects:

top10_productinjuries_18under (1)

Kids from 2-4 years old have the highest chance of being injured by a consumer product:


The above chart shows the % chance of a consumer product injury at any given age. Overall, chance of injury decreases with age.

However, there are a couple of spikes going against this trend:

  • increased injury rate at ~16 years old – people become more heavily involved in sports, and are possibly adjusting to new growth spurts
  • increased injury rate at ~50 years old – people fully approach middle age and begin more commonly injuring themselves with stairs/floors

(source for U.S. population used to normalize injury risk)

2 to 4 year olds have a hard time with household objects, jewelry, and coins (take notes new and future parents!):