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Computer-related injuries on the rise

June 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Computer-related injuries have been climbing steadily since the mid-1990s especially among young children.Just one wrong move and an entire computer system can come crashing down on a toddler.

"That's the number one injury that happens to children in a house. And if the wires are not secure that increases that likelihood," said Dr. Anthony Cardillo, ER physician.

Dr. Cardillo says he's seen a sharp rise in computer related injuries at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. He demonstrates how easy it is for kids to get tangled up in trouble.

A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals from 1994 to 2006 computer ownership increased 300 percent over and injuries from computers rose more than 700 percent.

One in 5 injuries were due to the computer actually falling on the patient. Children under five were the most likely to get hurt.

"So children running in the house or the elderly not paying attention could certainly trip on the wires if they are not contained adequately," said Dr. Cardillo.

But the problem is not just with home units, ER docs are also seeing a rise in injuries due to portable computers.

"When they were called laptops, people were actually putting them on their legs and they were receiving second and third degree burns on their legs. They should not be placed on your bare skin because they do become very hot," said Dr. Cardillo.

Dr. Cardillo says portable computers belong on a desk or table top. He also recommends small children always have supervision when using computers. And just like you secure a television, always secure all your computer apparatus with plastic adhesives or plastic tie backs.

"A key element in prevention is to secure the computer, secure the monitor, and most important is addressing all of the wires," said Dr. Cardillo.

More than 60 percent of U.S. households now contain at least one personal computer -- and many have multiple machines. Dr. Cardillo notes any appliance with a wire that hangs to the floor is a danger to children.

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