When we lay restless in the night thinking and dreading the day that we finally reach the end of our lives, it’s probably reasonable to assume that not a lot of us think about dying in the hands of a vending machine. Apparently, though, it’s more common than we think.
According to LiveAbout, this particular piece of information floated around after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that vending machines had been the cause of death for 37 people between the years of 1978 and 1995. In roughly the same time period, from 1994 to 2004, there were only six shark attacks recorded in the US, which averages to 0.6 deaths per year compared to vending machines’ 2.18 deaths per year record.
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If you think that’s worrying, take a look at the more recent statistics of the vending machine death toll. As reported by LiveAbout, a website collating the most “lovable jumble of urban legends, sports history, and esoteric trivia” for anyone who wants some good ol' fashion brain stimulation, recent data from 2002 to 2015 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System revealed that vending machine-related accidents or injuries account for four deaths out of 1,730 injuries per year. As it is now, it is the “tenth most dangerous item out of 15 in the office and school category.”
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While that can be particularly worrying for, say, the first time parent who just got their kids into school this morning, the National Electronic report assures the public that most of these vending machine-related incidents victimize 30 percent of the 64-year-old age group, a number higher than the percentage of school-age kids getting into the same accidents at only 15 percent.
On the male and female spectrum, the report finds that more men also fall victim to vending machine injuries (55 percent) rather than women (45 percent).
Still, all that doesn’t answer the question: how do you even find yourself in a situation where a vending machine sends you to an early grave?
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“The type of injuries you get from a vending machine was 20 percent to the head, 13 percent to the hand, 12.5 percent to the upper trunk, 8.5 percent to the face, and 7 percent to the whole body (as in a tip-over).”
When looking at the specifics of these incidents, reports indicate that most of them were contusions or abrasions (25 percent), followed by lacerations (17 percent), strain or sprain (10 percent), and finally, internal injury (8 percent).