Oklahoma is one of the most common states for household drowning, poisoning and fire-related fatalities to happen, but experts say these often-devastating events can be easy to prevent.
Oklahoma ranked no. 2 for household poisoning, no. 4 for fires and burns, and no. 5 for drowning accidents in 2018, according to SafeWise , an online publication that ranks safety products and compiles statistics on accidents.
These common household accidents most often happen to children from one to four years old –- except for fires, which affect everyone, said Rebecca Edwards, senior copywriter and security expert for SafeWise.
“All of these are unlikely incidents, but they can be so devastating and they can happen so fast,” Edwards said. “The more that it’s in your consciousness, the more likely you’re going to be to try to avoid tragedy.”
SafeWise pulls its data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it can be difficult to tell why a certain type of fatality is more common in one state than another. But there are several factors that could explain why Oklahomans experience so many of these accidents, especially drowning, Edwards said.
The aftermath of natural disasters like tornadoes can lead to flooding, which can in turn lead to drowning accidents. Oklahoma also has an unusually high ratio of pools to people, Edwards said.
“Young kids drowning in pools or bathtubs is the number one reason for household drowning accidents,” Edwards said. “Where there’s more pools, there’s just more likelihood of accident.”
There are some small fixes that can make a big difference when it comes to household safety, Edwards said.
Making sure home fire alarms work goes a long way to prevent fire and burn accidents. There is a 50 percent greater chance of surviving a house fire if smoke alarms in the house are working, Edwards said.
“In 2018, Oklahoma City had the highest number of fire deaths that it had had in 12 years,” Edwards said. “And smoke alarms were missing in some of those cases.”
In addition, being careful about where poisonous substances are located in a house can prevent children from finding and consuming them. Children ingesting medications or cleaning supplies are some of the most common causes for poison fatalities, Edwards said.
“All those things are orange, blue, yellow, green, which is the same color as kids’ drinks,” Edwards said.
Swimming lessons and barriers around pools can dramatically reduce the likelihood of children drowning. Parents should also pay attention and never assume that someone else is watching their child, Edwards said.
“The number one answer to all of those is vigilance and supervision,” she said. “It’s not fun to have to sit there in the bathtub while you’re waiting for the kid to get ready to get out, but it’s totally worth it.”