15 Surprising Staircase Accident Statistics (2023 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Regardless of how safe they are, staircases can cause accidents in homes. They are especially dangerous for kids and seniors, and people can get hurt and even die from injuries caused by a fall on a staircase. It’s essential to be familiar with injuries caused by staircases so you can prevent them. To show you how dangerous staircases can be, we found 15 staircase accident statistics to raise awareness about some of the problems staircases can create.
Click below to jump ahead:
- Staircase Accidents Frequency and Demography
- Children Staircase Accidents
- Staircase Accidents – Pregnant Women and Elderly People
- Staircase Accidents Prevention
Top 15 Staircase Accident Statistics
- Around 24,760,843 patients were admitted to emergency departments due to staircase-related injuries during a 23-year-long study by NEISS.
- In an average year, 1,076,558 people in the US suffer from a staircase-related injury.
- Most of the injury rates occur among young children and elderly people.
- A study running between 1990 and 2012 showed the majority of stair-related injuries occurred among females.
- The most common types of injuries caused by staircase accidents were sprains, strains, soft tissue injuries, and fractures.
- On average, a child under 5 years old is treated for a stair-related injury approximately every six minutes.
- Head trauma has occurred mostly in children younger than four.
- In staircase accidents, infants have sustained more fractures than toddlers.
- Over 39% of the falls that occur among pregnant women are staircase-related.
- Between 2008 and 2017, there were over 1466 reported cases of pregnant women falling down the stairs.
- Accidents from falling happen daily for people aged over 65 and most of these are staircase-related accidents.
- Seniors who suffer from a staircase fall are more likely to have rib and lower extremity fractures than younger patients.
- Staircases need to be built according to strict guidelines, with the stair slope maximum range being from 30 to 50 degrees.
- A staircase handrail height should be set above 30 inches.
- Stair landings need to be at least 20 inches deep.
Staircase Accidents Frequency and Demography
As you can see, staircase accidents are widespread. During the 23-year study conducted by NEISS, there have been over 24,760,843 patients admitted to emergency departments due to staircase-related injuries. Those numbers are surprisingly high compared to other injuries that occur in the United States every year.
Annually, around 1,076,558 people in the USA suffer from a staircase-related injury. The injuries may happen due to stairs not adhering to regular staircase guidelines, but there are a lot of general staircase accidents too.
3. Most of the injury rates occur among young children and elderly people.
Typically, staircase injuries occur primarily in young children and older adults. Children are most prone to falls as they are not aware of possible injuries that can happen. Elderly people don’t usually have the motor skills they used to and can easily get disoriented.
A study showed that between 1990 and 2012, more females suffered stair-related injuries and had a higher injury rate than males. Men have a higher muscle mass than women and are less prone to potential injuries. Also, the female bone structure and overall body shape are generally more fragile than males, which can lead to more injuries.
5. The most common types of injuries caused by staircase accidents were sprains, strains, soft tissue injuries, and fractures.
The most common staircase-related injuries were sprains, strains, soft tissue injuries, and fractures. Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries are very painful, but they can heal much faster than fractures. Fractures can be very severe, and depending on which body part you fractured, it can take months to heal completely.
Children Staircase Accidents
Children love to play, explore, and just be children. On average, a child under 5 years old is treated in the emergency department almost every 6 minutes due to falling down the stairs. That’s why paying careful attention to your child if you have stairs in your home is essential.
7. Head trauma has occurred mostly in children younger than four.
Children under four have suffered more head trauma than older children due to stairs. Toddlers and infants are small, fragile, and still in development and can thus experience more head trauma than older kids. A child shouldn’t be left alone in dangerous areas like staircases.
8. In staircase accidents, infants have sustained more fractures than toddlers
Injuries can be severe when a staircase accident involves a toddler or an infant. Of course, infants are not as developed as toddlers, and injuries can be pretty serious or even fatal.
Staircase Accidents – Pregnant Women and Elderly People
Over 39% of falls in pregnant women are staircase-related. When you’re pregnant, your body’s gravity center constantly shifts, potentially leading to poor balance that causes falls.
10. Between 2008 and 2017, there were over 1466 reported cases of pregnant women falling down the stairs.
Over 1466 reported cases of pregnant women falling down the stairs occurred between 2008 and 2017. While most of these falls in pregnant women didn’t cause extreme injuries, it’s best to visit a doctor to avoid any possible complications if it happens to you or your loved one while pregnant.
People over 65 suffer daily from falls, and many of them are staircase-related. Aging brings many changes, like bad hearing, damaged vision, and compromised balance. Elderly people commonly suffer from physical conditions that make using stairs difficult and dangerous.
12. Seniors who suffer from a staircase fall are more likely to have rib and lower extremity fractures than younger patients.
Seniors involved in a staircase fall are more likely to have rib and lower extremity fractures. As we age, our bone structure becomes more delicate and is more prone to injuries than younger people. That’s why older patients might easily fracture their ribs, hips, or legs.
Staircase Accidents Prevention
13. Staircases need to be built according to strict guidelines, with the stair slope maximum range being from 30 to 50 degrees.
OSHA has released a safe staircase guide with exact measurements and parameters for safe stairs. Many falls happen due to the staircases being made with inappropriate dimensions, and even cautious people can easily get injured. That’s why all staircase guidelines must be strictly followed with a stair slope maximum range of 30 to 50 degrees.
14. A staircase handrail height should be set above 30 inches.
OSHA also states that the staircase handrail height should be set above 30 inches. Anything lower than that is not ideal for the average-sized person.
15. Stair landings need to be at least 20 inches deep.
Another stipulation from OSHA is that stair landings need to be at least 20 inches deep. Stair landings are usually used to change directions in a staircase and are an excellent place for older adults to rest while climbing the stairs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Staircase Accidents
What are the risks of stairs?
Staircases are standard in most houses and buildings, and most people don’t pay much attention to them. They can be extremely dangerous and even lead to severe injuries. Unlike regular falling, your body can tumble down steps causing injuries that can take months to heal, while some might never heal entirely.
What is the most common cause of stair accidents?
There are plenty of reasons why a fall down the stairs occurs. There may be an issue with the staircase, including damaged, loose, or incorrectly installed steps, which can lead to falling. Slippery staircases and lack of handrails also commonly cause stair accidents. Other factors include insufficient lighting and not paying enough attention to where you’re stepping.
How common are staircase accidents?
Staircase accidents are prevalent and happen daily worldwide. As mentioned above, there are over 1,076,558 staircase-related injuries in the US annually. They are common in all age groups, genders, and ethnicities. Still, certain groups suffer from this type of injury more than others, like kids and older people, and some studies show that it occurs more in women than men.
The injuries can be severe, so if you or your loved ones get hurt by falling down the stairs, visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible to ensure everything is okay.
How can you prevent staircase accidents?
You can prevent staircase accidents or lower their chances by doing a couple of simple things. First, when going down the stairs, take your time and don’t rush. Try to inspect your staircase regularly and fix or replace any damaged areas.
Ensure your staircase is dried adequately after cleaning to avoid slipping. Also, try and have good lighting near staircases to prevent falls during the night. If you live in a household with children, safety gates are a must to avoid them climbing while they’re not under your watch.
What kind of injuries can you get from falling down the stairs?
There are several injuries that can occur from falling down the stairs. The injury depends on how severe your fall is, and fatalities have been reported due to falling down the stairs. Typical non-fatal injuries are fractures, sprains, strains, head injuries, neck injuries, and broken bones. The most severe injuries are internal bleeding, organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries, which can be fatal in some instances.
Staircase accidents are frequent occurrences, and although they’re usually not serious, they can still be pretty traumatic. Be aware of your surroundings, be cautious, and don’t leave your children alone in areas with staircases. As long as you follow all the necessary prevention guidelines, there’s much less need to worry about staircase accidents.
Featured Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock