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At the comfort of your home, on transit either by road, water or the air, to the busy schedule of your workplace, we are all plagued by the danger of injury related to the products we use. Numerous accidents and injuries related to consumer products are taken to the emergency room worldwide daily, yet still, many more go unreported or unnoticed.

Consumer Related Injuries

This feature aims at identifying the most frequent injuries from consumer products and highlight measures to curb or eradicate such injuries. It also aims at enlightening the consumer on product-related injuries so that they may be able to take the necessary legal action if need be. Statistics show that injury due to a consumer product is a common occurrence at our homes and places of work and consumers should be aware of product liability. Injuries resulting from product use might be debilitating and, in some instances, fatal. The need for consumer knowledge will help cover some hospital costs or act as compensation in injuries or fatalities related to consumer products.

The vulnerable groups

Statistics indicate that most of the injuries related to consumer products are common in the weak in society. The most common groups are the elderly and little children. The devastation left by such injuries cannot be understated, with specific injuries leading to immobility while others are fatal. The need for consumer awareness, therefore, cannot be stressed any further.

The elderly as is with little children, are vulnerable owing to lack of knowledge of the use of a particular product or inability of quick response in cases of danger or emergency. The instruction on the use of the products is usually the prerequisite of the manufacturer or seller of the product. Consumers should be made aware of the dangers associated with the use of particular products, failure to which legal action might be constituted to the said manufactures or sellers of the mentioned products or commodities.

According to research conducted by a team at Monash University Accident Research Center, consumer-related injuries are quite common in the elderly. This research was done to identify the common consumer-related injuries to the elderly and try to establish ways of avoiding such injuries.

From the research, it was established that the majority of injuries occur while the elderly are at the comfort of their homes. The most common injuries are listed as follows;

  • Injuries related after falls on concrete surfaces and stairs
  • Knocks hit or fall on chairs and beds
  • Falls connected to tripping associated with floor coverings like mats and rags
  • Falls from heights more common when using ladders
  • Other related products causing injuries were heaters, cigarettes, baths and showers, and lounges.
  • Lawn mowers, knives, and dogs were associated with non-fatal consumer-related injuries

All the products as mentioned above and the mode of injuries can be directly linked to the lifestyle of the elderly involved. A case in point is the elderly that indulge in alcohol use, who, it was established, were more prone to consumer-related injuries. It is also important to note that the injuries cannot squarely be attributed to the aging process because some of the injuries were merely accidental or circumstantial. This can directly be linked to the lack of enough knowledge on the use of the particular products stated.

According to Data from Consumer Safety Commission of the united states published in the Senior Hazards Sketch 2013, the following are the most common products that the elderly get injuries from, listed as per the frequency in occurrence;

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  • Stairs, ramps, landings, floors
  • Beds, mattresses, pillows
  • Chairs, sofas, sofa beds
  • Bathroom structures and fixtures
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Clothing
  • Tables
  • Desks, cabinets, shelves, and racks
  • Non-glass doors, panels
  • Ladders, stools

Most of the injuries mentioned occurred as a result of the elderly lacking knowledge on the use of the said product or commodities, exposing them to numerous dangers and injuries some of which proved fatal. The importance of product information on use should, therefore, be enhanced and enforced to avoid such related injuries, and especially to the vulnerable elderly statesmen and women.

As observed from the above statistics, it is important to note that a majority of the consumer-related injuries in the elderly usually occur at home.

The children, just like the elderly, are a vulnerable group when it comes to consumer products associated injuries. Though they occur on a broader scale, some of the injuries go unreported, while some dangerous ones might be fatal.

Children cannot usually process information; therefore the knowledge on the danger of the use of products squarely lies on their parents or caregivers shoulders. The parents and caregivers should be made aware of the risks associated with the use of any products that their children play with or use. The information will help them take the necessary precautions if need be, before exposing their kids to any unforeseen danger.

According to research conducted by Christopher E. Gaw, Thiphalak Chounthrath and Gary A. Smith, the most common consumer products related injuries include injuries associated with the following products or commodities;

  • Baby carriers
  • Baby cribs/ mattresses
  • Strollers/ carriages
  • High chairs
  • Baby bottles
  • Baby warmers
  • Baby sterilizers
  • Changing tables
  • Baby toys

The most research, though conducted in baby nurseries, paints a clear picture of the common products causing injuries at homes. The range of products associated shows how vast and common commodity-related injuries to children is. The need for the caregivers to be enlightened on product use and caution to take cannot be stressed any further.

Bottomline

Consumers world over should be enlightened on the dangers associated with the use of products or commodities. This will go a long way in prevention of commodity-related injuries or even fatalities resulting from the same. The liabilities to product manufacturers or sellers will be significantly reduced if the consumers are educated on the use of products.

Matt Smith

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