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Stairways, due to their inherent dangers, as well as unsafe patterns of use by homeowners, are the sites of a surprising number of injuries. A careful assessment of the risks posed by stairways can prevent unnecessary injuries.
Facts and Figures
- 1,638 people died from falls on steps and stairs in the United States in 2004. This figure is greater than the combined number of swimming pool and bathtub drownings for the same year, according to the National Safety Council. The actual number of stairway accidents is probably much higher, as many people who sustain injuries don't know why they fell, and others are too embarrassed to admit they fell, so these incidents go unreported.
- Elderly occupants are at particular risk of falling down stairs, mostly due to impaired vision, reduced strength, and poor balance. For individuals age 65 and older, 260,000 are injured every year in falls on steps, stairs and escalators, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
- Handicapped and young children are also at increased risk of sustaining stairway injuries.