Figures show two deaths per week caused by accidents in the home

Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride
Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride

Two deaths per week are caused by accidents in the home in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.

Injuries account for 17,000 admissions to hospital every year, the Department of Health added.

Falls, carbon monoxide poisoning, inhalation of smoke and strangulation from blind cords are among the most common reasons, according to a survey from 2001-2011.

Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: “Accidents in the home are preventable and disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our society.

“Falls are the main cause of unintentional injury and death and, as the risk of falling increases with age, older people need to be particularly aware of the risks and should take steps to mitigate those risks, for example by wearing appropriate footwear and turning lights on if you need to get up at night.

“People on multiple medications should also regularly review the most appropriate use of their medicine with their GP or pharmacist.”

Falls caused 580 deaths over the 10-year period, equating to just under half of all such fatalities.

Health minister Edwin Poots launched a public consultation on a strategy to prevent home accidents.

He said: “This strategy is aimed at the entire population of Northern Ireland as accidents can and do affect everyone.

“The consultation paper, however, also proposes a particular focus on the under-fives, over-65s and people who are living in deprived areas, as these groups are more likely to have accidents and more likely to suffer long-term effects as a consequence of an accident.”