What’s the most dangerous item in your kitchen? Sharp knives, surely — they send over 322,000 people to the emergency room every year, whether from surprisingly common avocado-related injuries or from a slip of the hand slicing another type of food. But the items responsible for the rest of America’s kitchen-related injuries might surprise you.
Porch, a company that connects people to home improvement services, recently analyzed data and found that seemingly benign items such as dishware and drinking glasses send an alarming number of people to the hospital. The data comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a government agency that keeps track of emergency room visits and the injuries that prompted them. There are more than a few items to be wary of if you’re avoiding injury in the kitchen.
Knives were, of course, the most dangerous object. But some items that seem far less menacing were still responsible for the injuries of thousands in 2017. Tableware, such as bowls, plates, and serving trays, sent 90,577 patients to the emergency room. They slashed open people’s fingers and caused thousands of burns to the skin. Drinking glasses were the third worst offender, guilty of causing 56,433 emergency room visits. In addition to finger lacerations, pieces of glassware were found in patients’ feet and toes.
Next on the list were bottles and jars, allegedly sending people to the hospital for finger lacerations (likely from broken glass) and “internal ingestions” (we’ll let you use your imagination on that one).
After these common items, appliances were the next largest threat. Refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and some small appliances caused tens of thousands of ER visits each.
But these scary statistics don’t mean you should stop using these items. While there are some great oven-free recipes out there, how would you manage to make a delicious, satisfying chicken dinner or a batch of warm, fresh cookies?
And if you do get injured, know the steps to take to protect yourself from making things worse. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, treating a small cut takes only a few simple steps. Wash your hands immediately; then use direct pressure to stop the bleeding. Apply antibacterial ointment and a clean bandage once the area is clean.
For a larger cut — like, say, one that might land you in the ER — do not try to clean the wound yourself. Instead, make sure you get immediate medical care.
External injuries aren’t the only threat lurking in your kitchen. That room is teeming with bacteria that could make you or your family sick — especially in these infected areas.