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Interesting Accidental Death Statistics

Accidental death statistics someone sent me are interesting, mostly because it gives total lifetime odds.  You have higher lifetime odds of accidental death from the following sources more than guns (which are 1:5981):

  • Drowning in a swimming pool (1:5501)
  • Drowning in a lake or other natural water (1:2384)
  • Being struck by or striking against an object (1:4555)
  • Contact with machinery (1:5189)
  • All types of falls, including falling from furniture (1:4238)
  • Plane crash or spacecraft explosion (1:5862)
  • ATV accident (1:3579)
  • Being a pedestrian (1:623)

It’s not an excuse to get lax about safe gun handling or education, but in the realm of ways to die accidentally, guns are not a problem. When you consider how many households have a gun in them, it’s really not a problem. Fewer houses have swimming pools, and overall lifetime odds of dying from a swimming pool are more than guns, and this is whether you own a pool or a gun or not.

When we talk lifetime odds of being killed by criminal action rise to 1:207, which is roughly on par with a lot of transport accidents. Yet someone who wears a seat belt is sensible, and someone who carries a gun is crazy.

7 Responses to “Interesting Accidental Death Statistics”

  1. Ed says:

    I wouldn’t mind dying in a spacecraft explosion.

    Why did they include that? A total of what, 14 Americans have ever died in the explosion of a spacecraft? What does that add to the airplane stat?

  2. Probably because they’re so rare, they just put all aircraft together, regardless of how high that aircraft goes.

  3. I am with Ed. If I died in an Spacecraft explosion that would mean that I was somehow involved in space travel, which is a childhood dream of mine.

  4. Dave R. says:

    Clicking through, plane or spacecraft explosion is clearly one combined category.

    Falls, all types combined, is really a 1 in 184 chance. 1 in 4238 is falling from furniture only.

    And down towards the bottom, assault, all types combined, is a 1 in 207 chance. I’ll take my chances owning firearms, thank you very much.

  5. Ed says:

    Yes, but the total number of Americans killed in spacecraft accidents is 17, 14 if you don’t include accidents on the ground. I know that airplane accidents are rare, but still, at least several thousand Americans have died in aircraft incidents since the Apollo I fire, and probably at least 1,000 since Challenger. Adding 17 or 14 deaths to the number can’t make a statistically relevant difference, can it? If not, why include spacecraft in the figure at all?

    Also, if it’s just explosions, only the Challenger would qualify, so we’re down to seven deaths versus several hundred in airplane explosions (TWA 800 and Pan Am 103 alone amount to more than 300, maybe more than 400).

    Still, I wouldn’t mind dying aboard a spacecraft many years from now versus, say, drowning in a pool.

  6. Chris says:

    The swimming pool statistic is handy if a doctor asks about firearms in the home due to “safety” concerns but doesn’t ask about a pool.

    http://www.anesi.com/accdeath.htm

  7. Chris says:

    Interestingly, the lifetime odds of dying due to “complications” in the provision of medical or surgical care (1 in 1523) are nearly four (3.9) times greater than the lifetime odds of dying due to a gun accident.

    Nosy physician, heal thyself!

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