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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 16:14 GMT
Bizarre accidents injure thousands
Almost 1m people are admitted to hospital after accidents each year
Thousands of Britons ended up in hospital this year after bizarre accidents, official figures reveal.

These ranged from incidents involving non-powered hand tools to attacks by animals and insects.

Others were victims of nature, injured after earthquakes, lightning strikes and even volcanic eruptions.

According to the Department of Health, hundreds more were rushed to hospital after coming into contact with poisonous plants and marine life.

Thousands affected

The figures show that almost 2,000 people, most of them children, were admitted to hospital after falling out of trees.

Another 3,000 people were admitted after coming into contact with a non-powered hand tool.

If people took a little bit of care many of these could be avoided
Roger Vincent,
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Powered lawnmowers landed 369 in hospital, while 2,718 needed medical treatment after striking against or being struck by sports equipment.

Animals were responsible for hundreds of admissions.

Some 22 people needed treatment after being bitten by a rat.

Three people required medical attention after being bitten or struck by a crocodile or alligator.

Some 32 people needed treatment after contact with venomous snakes and lizards.

Another 190 people were hospitalised after coming into contact with plant thorns and spines and sharp leaves.

Four people needed treatment after accidental suffocation and strangulation while in bed.

Mother nature helped to put others in hospital. A total of 65 people needed treatment after being struck by lightning.

Five people required care after an earthquake while 45 suffered injuries as a result of a volcanic eruption.

Another 50 people were treated after being caught up in a flood or "cataclysmic storm".

Roger Vincent of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said many accidents can be avoided with better care.

"Accidents are preventable," he told BBC News Online.

"If people took a little bit of care many of these could be avoided."

He said many people suffered accidents around Christmas.

"Many slips and falls occur around Christmas. People slip on toys, children can choke on balloons and other items and people can suffer injuries in the kitchen.

"People should tidy up and clear any clutter to reduce their risk of having an accident.

"If they're cooking they should stay off the booze. A little bit of care can prevent many of these accidents."

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