Release date: April 28, 1992
Release number: 92-079

Release Details

Each year, according to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly one million people over age 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with products they live with and use everyday. The death rate from unintentional injuries in the home is approximately three times greater for older people than for the younger population. Specifically, there are 60 deaths per 100,000 persons 65 and older, while there are 20 deaths per 100,000 persons under 65.

Slips and falls are the main source of injury for older people in the home. CPSC recommends the use of grab-bars and non-slip mats in the bathtub; handrails on both sides of the stairs; and slip-resistant carpets and rugs. Burns occur from hot tap water and from open flame. CPSC recommends that consumers turn down the temperature of their water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent scalds. CPSC also recommends the installation and maintenance of at least one smoke detector on every floor of the home. Older consumers should consider purchasing nightwear that is flame resistant and choose garments made of tightly woven fabrics such as 100% polyester, 100% nylon, or 100% wool.

The Commission is distributing the "Home Safety Checklist for Older Consumers," a room-by-room check of the home, identifying hazards and recommending ways to avoid injury. The checklist is available in English or Spanish. Consumers may request a free copy by sending a postcard to "Checklist for Older Consumers," CPSC, Washington, D.C. 20207.

The CPSC offers these safety tips as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.5 million injuries and 21,600 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.