Background: Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States. It is unclear, however, what proportion of these injuries occur in the home. The purpose of this paper is to quantify and describe fatal unintentional injuries that take place in the home environment. Methods: Data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) were used to calculate average annual rates for unintentional home injury deaths, with 95% confidence intervals from 1992 to 1999 for the United States overall, and by mechanism of injury, gender, and age group. Results: From 1992 to 1999, an average of 18,048 unintentional home injury deaths occurred annually in the United States (6.83 deaths per 100,000). Home injury deaths varied by age and gender, with males having higher rates of home injury death than females (8.78 vs 4.97 per 100,000), and older adults (>/=70 years) having higher rates than all other age groups. Falls (2.25 per 100,000), poisoning (1.83 per 100,000), and fire/burn injuries (1.29 per 100,000) were the leading causes of home injury death. Rates of fall death were highest for older adults, poisoning deaths were highest among middle-aged adults, and fire/burn death rates were highest among children. Inhalation/suffocation and drowning deaths were important injury issues for young children. Conclusions: Unintentional injury in the home is a significant problem. Specific home injury issues include falls among older adults, poisonings among middle-aged adults, fire/burn injuries among older adults and children, and inhalation/suffocation and drowning among young children. In addition, recommendations are presented for improvements to the NVSS.