Living

What Are the Most Common Product Injuries in Summer?

To identify the most common product-related summer injuries, we looked at emergency room injury data from 1998 through 2017, provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (CPSC-NEISS).

With a long break from school, it's no wonder why kids love the summer—but they're not the only ones. For many of us, summer is the season of relaxation and fun, whether traveling or staying home. The season's warm weather is perfect for bike riding, swimming, hosting cookouts with family and friends, and more. However, many popular summer activities can end in a trip to the emergency room if you're not careful. To identify the most common product-related summer injuries, we looked at emergency room injury data from 1998 through 2017, provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (CPSC-NEISS).

Key Takeaways

  • The majority of summer injuries consist of biking and swimming injuries sustained by children ages 5 to 10 years.
  • Children ages 1 to 5 years run a high risk of hand injuries during the summer from touching fans and hot grills.
  • Lawn maintenance and air conditioner injuries are common in the summer for adults ages 40 to 50 years.

Which Products Are Responsible for Most Summer Injuries?

ProductPrimary InjuryMain Body PartPrimary Age GroupER Visits Per Summer
Above-ground swimming poolsSubmersionAll parts of body5-101,040
Air conditionersStrain or SprainTrunk, lower40-505,512
Amusement attractionsStrain or SprainNeck5-108,323
Beach chairs or folding chairsLacerationFinger1-52,490
Bicycles or accessoriesInternal organ injuryHead5-10184,531
Built-in swimming poolsLacerationFace5-1010,227
Camping equipmentStrain or SprainTrunk, lower40-501,799
CharcoalBurns, thermalFoot1-5587
Charcoal or wood-burning grillsBurns, thermalHand1-5708
Diving or diving boardsInternal organ injuryHead5-105,694
FansLacerationFinger1-55,213
FireworksBurns, thermalHand10-159,496
FishingForeign bodyFinger40-5018,971
Flotation toysSubmersionAll parts of body1-5742
Garden hoses, nozzles or sprinklersLacerationFace70-805,357
Gas or LP grills or stovesBurns, thermalFace40-501,395
Generators or power plantsAnoxiaAll parts of body40-50564
Golf cartsInternal organ injuryHead10-153,962
Grills, not specifiedBurns, thermalHand1-53,951
HammocksInternal organ injuryHead5-101,201
HorseshoesLacerationLeg, lower40-50631
Lawn mowers, not specifiedLacerationFinger40-5015,335
Lawn trimmers or edgers, poweredContusions, AbrasionsEyeball40-503,210
Mopeds or power-assisted cyclesInternal organ injuryHead15-203,962
Mountain climbingStrain or SprainAnkle20-251,450
Mountain or all-terrain bicycles or accessoriesFractureShoulder40-504,732
Other toy gunsLacerationFace5-10714
Outdoor awnings or shuttersLacerationHead60-70636
Outdoor patio heaters or firepitsBurns, thermalHand1-5664
Portable food or beverage coolersStrain or SprainTrunk, lower40-501,372
Portable swimming poolsSubmersionAll parts of body1-5703
Power hedge trimmersLacerationFinger40-501,765
Propane, LP or butane gas tanks or fittingsBurns, thermalFace50-60647
Pruning or trimming equipment, not specifiedLacerationFinger40-507,106
Riding power lawn mowersStrain or SprainTrunk, lower50-605,014
Rope or stringFractureFinger10-153,497
Rotary power lawn mowersLacerationFinger50-601,461
Scuba divingOther/Not StatedEar40-50553
Sprayers, not elsewhere classifiedLacerationFinger40-501,550
SurfingLacerationFace10-154,981
SwimmingOther/Not StatedEar5-1044,388
Swimming pool chemicalsPoisoningAll parts of body5-101,959
Swimming pool equipmentLacerationFace5-101,948
Swimming pool slidesInternal organ injuryHead5-10874
Swimming pools, not specifiedLacerationFace5-1033,614
Water skiingLacerationFace15-204,239
Water slides, backyard/homeInternal organ injuryHead5-102,297
Water slides, not elsewhere classifiedInternal organ injuryHead5-101,151
Water slides, publicInternal organ injuryHead5-102,745
Water tubingStrain or SprainNeck15-203,730

Bicycles account for the largest number of injuries at 184,531 estimated ER visits per summer. Swimming-related activities, fishing, lawn maintenance, fireworks and amusement attractions account for the next-highest injury numbers. Some of these products are more financially accessible than others—for instance, it's easier to own a bicycle versus a built-in swimming pool—and therefore, individuals may be exposed to one type of product over others. Sustained injuries from these products also vary in severity, with drownings, poisonings and concussions as the three worst summer injuries. These injuries are most common among water-related products such as swimming pools, flotation toys, swimming pool chemicals and water slides. The summer heat can also put a strain on local power grids, which can lead to power outages and a need for some consumers to break out their generators. Power generator injuries account for roughly 564 ER visits each summer. Anoxia, or lack of oxygen from overexposure to noxious fumes such as carbon monoxide, is the most common.

Lawn Maintenance Injuries by Age Group

Lawn Maintenance Injuries by Age Group

Air Conditioner Injuries by Age Group

Air Conditioner Injuries by Age Group

Fishing Injuries by Age Group

Fishing Injuries by Age Group

Many of these summer product injuries have a strong dependency on age demographics. The majority of consumers injured by fireworks, bicycles and swimming products are between ages 1 and 15 years. However, adults are also prone to a fair number of product-related injuries over the summer. Lawn maintenance injuries from using lawn mowers and trimmers are very common among adults between ages 35 and 80 years. Heavy air conditioners also claim their share of summer victims, injuring people between ages 20 and 70 years. Summer fishing injuries are, interestingly, split between 5- to 15-year-olds and 40- to 70-year-olds.

Summer Safety Tips for Homeowners

  • Air conditioner injuries increase during the summer, mostly as a result of muscle strains from lifting. Window units can weigh more than 40 pounds, so ask an able-bodied friend, neighbor or relative for help if you need to move one. There's also a risk of electric shock when working with a unit, so be certain the unit is powered off and unplugged before attempting to move it.

  • Generator injuries are prevalent in the summertime and can result in muscle strain and anoxia injuries. Similar to air conditioners, generators can be very heavy, so it's recommended you move them with help from an able-bodied person. Make sure your generator runs in a space that is well-ventilated, with a carbon monoxide detector, to avoid the buildup of noxious fumes.

  • Pool and swimming injuries are mostly sustained by children between the ages of 1 and 15 years. Children should not use the pool unless there's a responsible adult who can supervise them. And everyone should avoid running near the pool or attempting jumps or dives into shallow water. Avoid overcrowding the pool so no one accidentally hits or kicks one another. It is also a smart move to have one or more members of your household learn CPR.

  • Lawn maintenance tools, such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers, are also notably dangerous summer products. Protective eyewear and earwear should be used at all times. Operators should be mindful of hand and foot placement. If cleaning or sharpening a blade, be sure to power off and unplug your equipment.

  • Grills and fire pits are great for summer cookouts and roasting marshmallows, but consumers risk burn injuries if not careful. It's best to wear mitts when operating a grill to lower the chances of burning your hand or arm. No one should run or horse around near the grill or fire pit, and young children should avoid the area entirely.

In addition to safe practices during summertime activities, you should also be prepared in case one of your guests is injured, particularly if the incident happens on your property. We recommend you keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the house, especially near potential hazards such as a fire pit. You should also review your homeowners insurance policy to understand the protections it offers in the case of an injury. Most home insurance policies provide liability coverage if you're held liable for another person's injury or property damage—for example, if you hit a pedestrian while riding your bike. You may also have medical payments coverage, which covers guest injuries while they're on your property, no matter who was at fault. So, if a neighbor's child falls during your barbecue, their injuries would be covered.

Methodology

To analyze summer injuries, we looked at data from 1998 through 2017 from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (CPSC-NEISS) which samples ER visits due to product-related injuries from ~100 hospitals across the country each year. A fractional weight, total hospitals (5,534) divided by sampled hospitals (100), was used as a multiplier for a crude estimate of the total ER visits across the country. Summer product injuries were isolated from mundane injuries utilizing the following criteria:

  • On average, the product results in 10 or more NEISS sampled ER visits per summer.
  • More than 25% of the product’s injuries occur in the summer.
  • Products exhibit a positive percent increase in injuries from spring to summer.
David Ascienzo

David Ascienzo, Ph.D., is a Data Scientist at ValuePenguin. He previously was a Doctoral Researcher in Physics at the City University of New York (CUNY). He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the CUNY Graduate Center.