12 Things More Likely to Kill Than Sharks

Shark Week, when fascinated viewers are told tales of vicious sharks inhabiting every ocean on the planet, is just around the corner. The stories of these murderous creatures, coupled with a few close-ups of their rows of sharp teeth, have incited paranoia ever since the first bloodthirsty beast in Jaws. In fact, 51 percent of Americans admit to being absolutely terrified of sharks with four in 10 indicating they are scared to swim in the ocean because of them. However, the chance of being attacked by a shark is just 1 in 11.5 million. The chance of actually being killed by a shark is less than 1 in 264 million

If you are in the 51 percent who believe sharks are malicious man-eaters lurking below the surf to attack you, it may be a relief to find your fears are unfounded. There are hundreds of things out there far more deadly than sharks. Even things you are more exposed to in your everyday life.

Here are 12 things more likely to hurt or kill you than a shark:

1. Trampolines

While trampolines have been most children’s toy of choice for decades, they can lead to broken necks, spinal cord injuries and disabling head traumas, many of which can result in paralysis or even death. Backyard trampolines send 100,000 people to the emergency room every year. From 1990 to 1999, 11 deaths were reportedly caused by trampolines.

2. Swimming pools

Approximately 1,500 people die in swimming pools compared to the five that die worldwide from shark attacks every year. According to the American Red Cross, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children. Between 2005 and 2014, there were an average of 3,536 unintentional drownings per year. That is ten deaths per day. Drowning can happen in less than five minutes, so swimming lessons and constant supervision are a must.

3. Fireworks

In the United States alone, about 10,000 people are admitted annually into ERs due to firework injuries. Your chances of death by fireworks is 1 in 615,000 compared to death by shark attack which is 1 in 264 million.

4. Tripping

Cause of death: clumsiness. Approximately 6,000 people die from tripping and falling at home each year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, slips, trips and falls cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths.

5. Hippos

Hippos may appear plump and friendly, but they are nothing of the sort. Easily perturbed and extremely aggressive, hippos will not hesitate to attack, especially if their offspring is nearby. Hippos pose the biggest threat to those living in Africa, killing over 300 of the continent’s people annually. People die most often when they’re stuck between a hippo and deep water or between a mother and her child.

6. Swing Sets

Childhood ruined. Swing sets are far more deadly than sharks, killing 147 children under 14 from 1990 to 2000. In fact, 82 children (56 percent) died from strangulation and 31 children (20 percent) died from falls.

7. Falling Out of Bed

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falling out of bed accounts for 1.8 million emergency room visits and over 400,000 hospital admissions each year. The very young and very old have the highest risk. People over the age of 65 tend to fare the worst when falling due to decreased stability from aging.

8. Vending Machines

If your bag of Funyuns gets caught in the machine, be careful not to shake it too hard. Vending machines topple over and crush 10 to 13 people each year. Not only are vending machines more deadly, there are over 1,700 reported injuries from vending machines each year compared to fewer than 25 shark attacks in the U.S.

9. Bees

Most everyone encounters bees throughout the summer, while only a few people will directly encounter a shark. You’re 53 times more likely to be killed by a bee than a shark. Bees were responsible for 50 deaths in the United States in the year 2000 due to bee allergies.

10. Hot Dogs

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 77 children each year choke to death while consuming hot dogs. More than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food. Approximately 17 percent of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.

11. Ants

Ants kill 30 people a year. There are over 280 different species of ants that can kill. The fire ant and Siafu ants of Africa are among the most-deadly. Since they live in colonies up to 20 million strong, once an attack begins ants can easily overpower their prey. Most reports of deaths are due to people falling asleep near an ant hill and succumbing to anaphylactic shock from countless ant bites and venom.

12. Jellyfish

Jellyfish kill over 100 people per year. The box jellyfish is said to be the most toxic of all jellyfish, and some species can easily kill a human with one sting. The venom paralyzes their prey, which often leads to drowning. The majority of jellyfish stings occur in the Atlantic Ocean (near Florida) and along the eastern coast of Australia.

Rethink Your Fear of Sharks

The next time you think a fin is rising out of the water, just remember it would be almost three times as deadly if it were a Pepsi vending machine. You’re actually much safer swimming in the ocean under the supervision of a lifeguard than you are in your own backyard. So be very careful eating a hot dog while you watch those fireworks this summer!


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