30 Most Dangerous Summer Activities
Hot weather is best enjoyed without broken bones.
When most of us imagine our summers, we envision lazy days in a pool with a cocktail in hand. However, for everyone enjoying the warmer months, there's someone less fortunate whose summer fun lands them in the hospital. In fact, according to many medical professionals, summer is known as "trauma season," a time when emergency rooms are suddenly teeming with injured patients.
It's not just daredevils who find themselves in body casts before September rolls around, though. We've compiled a list of the 30 most dangerous summer activities, from the obviously hazardous to the seemingly-safe. And when you want to live vicariously through other thrill-seekers, feast your eyes on The 50 Most Death-Defying Selfies.
Amusement park rides
We may tell ourselves that the roller coasters at our local amusement park or county fair only seem dangerous, but the truth is that our overconfidence could cost us. In fact, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, approximately 43,405 people are injured by amusement park rides every year. (Yikes!) And for more info on your favorite warm weather activity, check out these 40 Crazy Facts About Summer Fairs.
Off-roading in an ATV can be a serious thrill ride. Unfortunately, it's also a ride whose destination frequently ends up being the hospital. In fact, 214,761 injuries related to ATVs, mopeds, and minibikes are reported every year.
Setting off fireworks
Setting off fireworks may be an American tradition, but it's a perilous one. Every year, 9,000 fireworks-related injuries are reported at hospitals around the United States. And for more crazy facts about our nation's holiday, check out these 30 Other Significant Historical Events That Went Down on July 4.
Taking a dip to cool off this summer may land you in hot water. In 2017 alone, there were 199,246 reported injuries related to swimming and the use of pool equipment.
Hitting the open water is exhilarating, but hardly without peril. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 4,291 recreational boating accidents, which caused 658 deaths and $46 million in property damage in 2017 alone. However, there's one way to slash your risk of a boating accident becoming fatal: wear a life jacket. Of the boating victims who drown in a year, more than 80 percent aren't wearing one.
If being dragged behind a boat at high speeds on an inflatable raft seems dangerous, that's because it is. A report in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine reveals that an average of 1,578 tubing-related injuries are reported every single year.
Mowing the lawn
Not every potentially-perilous summer activity is an exciting one. In fact, summer chores like mowing are surprisingly dangerous. In 2017, there were 89,608 reported injuries related to the use of lawn mowers—perhaps a good sign it's time to hire those neighborhood kids to trim your grass for you. And for more surprising sources of peril, get acquainted with these 20 Household Products That Could Be Dangerous.
If you ditch your car in favor of commuting by bike when the weather gets warm, you're not alone. However, hitting the road on two wheels may not be always provide you the safe trip you seek. Sadly, biking accounts for more than 1,000 deaths annually in the United States alone and close to half a million injuries, according to the CDC.
Exploring the murky deep is an undeniable thrill that doesn't come without substantial risks. According to the DAN Annual Diving Report, there are approximately 1,220 injuries from scuba diving in the United States and its territories alone each year.
Jumping on trampolines
Getting some air in your back yard on a trampoline is a great workout—until someone breaks a bone, that is. In a single year, more than 145,207 trampoline-related injuries were reported, and the vast majority of victims were under 14 years old.
Waterskiing can be a great way to cool off on a hot day. Unfortunately, it's also a great way to land yourself in the hospital. According to one study, over a seven-year period in the United States, there were 52,399 waterskiing injuries—that's about 7,486 per year.
The world's most popular summer sport is also one of the most dangerous. In a single year, soccer resulted in 218,926 injuries—and that's just in the United States.
If you think that sharks are the biggest danger to you when you're out on the water, think again. In fact, your surfboard may be a greater source of peril. According to one report from Southern Cross University, nearly 40 percent of the surfers surveyed reported suffering an injury during the previous 12 months that kept them out of the water.
While it's pretty unlikely that you'll lose your life to a trowel mishap, summer gardeners are still a surprisingly injury-prone bunch. In 2017 alone, lawn and garden equipment and gardening hand tools caused a staggering 145,511 injuries in the United States.
Shooting BB guns
There's a reason they call it "target practice" and not "target perfect." In a single year, shooting non-firearm guns accounted for 18,652 injuries stateside.
Bears and bugs aren't the only thing you have to worry about in the woods this summer. Truth be told, camping accounted for 28,604 stateside injuries in 2017.
Even if you're not actually going swimming, your pool can still be a surprising source of injury. In a single year, pool chemicals were behind nearly 4,600 E.R. visits in the United States, per the CDC.
Burgers, beers, and… a trip to the burn unit? Grilling may be a popular form of preparing food in the summertime, but it's also dangerous: In 2017, there were 24,082 reported accidents from grills and stoves.
Whitewater rafting may not be the daredevil activity many people assume it to be, but that doesn't mean it's not without its risks. According to one study, approximately 100 whitewater rafters are injured each year.
Of course, it's always the summer activities that seem relatively safe that tend to have the highest injury counts. Case in point: 51,653 people are injured playing volleyball each year.
Think spending your summer at the country club is enough to keep you safe? Think again. In a single year, racquet sports like tennis account for 28,310 injuries.
Even if you don't bring your board along with you, riding waves in the ocean can be a surprisingly dangerous way to spend a day. According to research from the University of Delaware, more than 1,100 wave-related injuries prompted E.R. visits during a three-year period.
If you're heading out on your skateboard this summer, you'd better make sure you have a helmet on. In a single year, skateboarding accidents accounted for 98,486 injuries in the United States alone.
While you're unlikely to sprain your ankle or crack a rib while sunbathing, getting a base isn't without its risks. According to the EPA, approximately 235 Americans die from heat-related deaths each year, and 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year.
Hitting the trails on horseback this summer might just land you in the hospital, if you're not lucky. Every year, more than 48,000 horseback riding accidents are reported in the United States.
America's pastime is also one of America's biggest source of injuries. If you're playing baseball this summer, make sure you're wearing your protective gear or you could add to the 187,447 reported accidents from the sport.
While it's unlikely that a single glass of wine or margarita will send you to the hospital this summer, binge drinking just might. There are 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States each year, and, according to the CDC, alcohol is a factor in up to 70 percent of drowning deaths.
Whether you're capturing your travels abroad or hiking to the top of a waterfall to snap the perfect picture, there's no denying that summer is selfie season. However, with all those Instagrammable moments come more than a few injuries. According to one report, selfies accounted for 129 deaths and countless injuries over a 29-month period.
If you're going to practice your dunking skills this summer, make sure to stretch first. Each year, more than half a million basketball-related injuries were reported in the United States.
Before you head out on your summer road trip, you'll probably want to make sure your car is in tip-top shape. In 2017, there were 4.57 million motor vehicle accidents serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, and 40,100 people died in motor vehicle accidents during the same year. And when you want to stay safer behind the wheel, make sure to avoid the 30 Most Dangerous Roads in America.
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