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Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Home hazards injure thousands
Tea cosy
Children scald themselves by grabbing at brightly coloured tea cosies
Thousands of people each year are badly injured by simple household items like tea cosies, place mats and bath sponges.

The Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) annual Home Surveillance System found an alarming number of serious accidents caused by seemingly harmless items.

Many were accidents which, with a little care and attention, could have been prevented.

In the UK, 76 people are killed in domestic accidents each week - more than die in road accidents.

Every day 55 pre-school children go to A and E with burns and scalds suffered in the homes, mostly from cups of hot tea



Although the report highlighted fires, carbon monoxide poisonings and DIY accidents as the main causes of household injuries there were a number of other, less foreseen, accident sources.

Researchers found that small children in particular were getting badly burnt by hot food and drinks.

They had spotted brightly coloured tea cosies and table mats and tried to reach for them, sending boiling hot food and scalding tea all over themselves.

Nearly 800 people a year are injured in accidents involving sponges and loofahs - these ranged from children sticking parts of the sponge up their noses to people slipping on them in the bath or cutting their hands after using them to clean glasses.

Nearly 6,000 people were hurt after tripping over their trousers or falling down stairs while pulling them up.

Lady in hospital bed
Thousands of people are injured each year in the home

And 10,773 are hurt each year in accidents involving socks and tights: Many trip over the items and children sometimes wrap them round their necks, strangling themselves.

A DTI spokeswoman said the figures highlighted areas of home safety that might otherwise be overlooked.

"Every day 55 pre-school children go to A and E with burns and scalds suffered in the homes, mostly from cups of hot tea," she said.

Household items

Other injuries included:

  • 13,132 people injured after incidents involving boiling vegetables
  • 1,810 people walking into tree trunks or cutting their hands on them and 1,171 after accidents involving leaves, such as slipping
  • Incidents involving bird baths accounted for 311 trips to casualty
  • 3,421 people are injured annually in accidents involving clothes baskets
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said the report highlighted a number of serious concerns.

"It does show how easy it is to have an accident in the home with the most harmless of items. They can cause serious injuries.

"We are more likely to have an accident in the home than anywhere else."

The findings are reported in New Scientist magazine.

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See also:

04 Jan 01 | Health
Identifying the accident prone
06 Feb 01 | Health
Britain 'safe for children'
16 Feb 01 | Health
Parents lack first aid knowledge
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