YONKERS, NY — Some 48 percent of Americans don’t have a carbon-monoxide detector at home, 24 percent sometimes fail to fasten a seatbelt, and 39 percent often eat raw dough when making cookies, according to a nationally representative poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
The poll reveals what behaviors Americans do which they probably shouldn’t including: occasionally using the top step of a ladder (31 percent), sometimes having a beer while using a power tool or mower (13 percent), and letting their kids play on a trampoline (43 percent).
Also, the survey shows what behaviors Americans don’t do that they probably should including: having a rubber mat in the tub or shower (61 percent don’t), changing batteries in smoke alarms yearly (21 percent don’t), and eating burgers only well done (32 percent don’t).
The full report on how often Americans take risks is available in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, on sale now and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.
The results are revealing because these behaviors can cause real harm, according to safety experts at Consumer Reports and elsewhere.
• According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, safety belts saved 15,147 lives in 2007.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that carbon-monoxide poisoning claims almost 500 lives in the U.S. each year.
• The CDC notes that a common cause of food-borne salmonella infections is under-cooked or raw eggs, often found in cookie dough. Salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of food-borne illness and more than 500 deaths annually in the United States.
• Based on Consumer Reports’ analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission data, more than 105,000 hospital-treated injuries in the U.S. in 2007 were linked to trampolines.
The poll revealed men were slightly more likely than women to let children play on a trampoline, and women were more apt to eat burgers well done, fasten their safety belt religiously and clean lint from the dryer after each use. Respondents ages 18 to 35 were more likely than older folks to eat raw cookie dough; those 55 and older were more likely to have a rubber mat in the tub or shower.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a random-digit-dialing telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. In all, 1,000 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviews took place in October 2008. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points at a confidence level of 95 percent.