New Study on Senior Deaths: Drowning and Fires Lead List of Non-Fall Related Deaths

There were more than 12,500 deaths of adults 65 years old and older from 2009 to 2011 that were associated with consumer products reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nearly three-quarters of the deaths involved falls, 70 percent of which were due to falling on stairs, ramps, landings and floors.


Twenty-seven percent of the consumer product-related deaths reported to CPSC were not fall related. Instead, the deaths most frequently involved drowning in pools or bathtubs, fires in the home involving clothing, cigarettes, lighters, cooking or heating, and rollovers or collisions involving ATVs.


older adult swimming

A report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Consumer Product-Related Non-Fall Fatalities Involving Victims 65 Years of Age and Older 2009-2011”, identifies the following top 10 product group hazards involved in the non-fall senior deaths.

Product Groups Hazard
Swimming activity, pools, equipment Submersion
Clothing Fire-related
Bathtub & shower structures Submersion
Cigarettes, etc., lighters, fuel Fire-related
Home fires/carbon monoxide/gas vapors with unknown product Fire-related
ATV’s, mopeds, minibikes, etc. Tip Over, Instability, Rollover
Cooking ranges, ovens, etc. Fire-related
Heating stoves & space heaters Fire-related
ATVs, mopeds, minibikes, etc. Collision
Bicycles & accessories Collision


Non-fall related deaths were reported more frequently for adults age 65 to 69 than for older seniors. In contrast, the fall-related deaths reported peak between the ages of 84 and 89.


older adult on an ATV

Interestingly, more non-fall-related deaths were reported for senior men than women up to the age of 90. Men age 65 and older accounted for 64 percent of the non-fall related deaths, but they make up only 43 percent of the population.


More non-fall deaths were reported for women above 90, which is not altogether surprising given that the population 90 and older is 72 percent female.


The number of older adults is expected to rise as baby boomers age. The life expectancy of the average resident in the U.S. has risen from 70.8 years in 1970 to 77.8 in 2008 and it is expected to rise further in the future. It is important for the aging population to understand the risks associated with consumer products and activities performed during their daily lives and how to take proper precautions.


This is the second in-depth report by CPSC on older adults and consumer product-related injuries and deaths. A report released by CPSC in 2013 looked at which consumer products were associated with injuries and deaths to older adults and found that most involved falls. This report looked at non-fall fatalities involving consumer products and seni

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