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Home Computers a Growing Source of Injuries

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

The rate of injuries from computer mishaps has grown as the number of homes with computers has grown a new study shows.

Between 1994 and 2006, researchers found there was a seven-fold increase in the number of Americans who visited the ER for a computer-related injury, particularly among children. The most common types of injuries were lacerations, abrasions and bruises.

Of all the age groups, children younger than five had the highest injury rate with many being hurt when they tripped over computer wires. According to findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, home computers were most often to blame, regardless of the victim’s age.

More than 90 percent of injuries happened at home, which is notable, researchers say, considering how common computers are in schools and the workplace.

According to Dr. Lara B. McKenzie of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, families should take steps to protect themselves. She recommends that parents keep all computer equipment on a stable piece of furniture, away from the edges of the surface and out of the reach of young children. She also suggests that parent’s keep the child’s play area separated from the computer workstation.

Keeping the workstation out of walkways and against a wall can minimize the risk of people hitting sharp edges of the equipment or knocking any computer parts off the desk. Families should also make sure the computer wires and cords are organized and secure. McKenzie and her colleagues found that about 43 percent of injuries to children younger than five happened when the child tripped over computer wires.

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