Authorities have released a new report on the consumer product-related hazards that older Americans are facing around their homes. Apparently, they are more at risk of injuries and death associated with consumer products compared to other age groups.

Consumer product-related injuries send almost 3 million American adults aged 65 and older to the emergency room each year, while such products are also associated with about 3,800 deaths among the age group annually, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found in a new report.

Specifically, there were about 14.6 million emergency room treated injuries "associated with, but not necessarily caused by, consumer products" in the age group from 2016 to 2020. That is said to be higher than the rate for adults aged 25 to 64 and "more frequently leads to hospitalization."

As mentioned, the age group is also more at risk of death associated with consumer products. In fact, according to the agency, even though American adults aged 65 and above only make up 16% of the population, they comprise 71% of consumer product-related deaths. From 2016 to 2018, there were about 11,500 deaths "associated with, but not necessarily caused by, consumer products."

Common hazards

Falls are the most common consumer product-related hazards for both injuries and death in the age group, with almost two-thirds of consumer product-related injuries and an annual average of over 1,800 fatalities stemming from falls.

"(F)alls are a major hazard to adults 65 and over," the report noted. "This hazard is not a new one, but one that is not easily addressable."

Fires (930 deaths annually), drowning (300 deaths annually), transportation accidents (200 deaths annually), carbon monoxide poisoning (45 deaths annually) and adult bed rail incidents (16 deaths annually) are also among the top hazards highlighted in the report. Clothing fire deaths, in particular, "disproportionately affect" the group as they account for 72% of clothing fire deaths.

In the case of injuries, other major hazards during the 2016-2020 period include being struck by objects (annual average of 213,300 injuries), pierce/cut injuries (annual average of 96,600 injuries) and transportation injuries (annual average of 51,700 injuries). The latter includes incidents involving modes of transportation such as bicycles, golf carts and off-highway vehicles.

"It's a fact that older adults are far more likely to experience a significant injury, or fatality, from the hidden hazards associated with consumer products in their homes than other age groups," CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in the agency's news release. "This new report is an important reminder that preventing consumer product-related injuries and deaths to older adults often begins by following basic steps to improve safety in all areas of the home."

Such safety tips to prevent include installing handrails at home, keeping the stairs free of clutter, installing smoke alarms, not wearing loose clothing while cooking on the stove and checking if the portable adult bed rails being used have been recalled. It's also important not to swim alone and to have professionals inspect one's furnace.