Computers pose injury risk to little ones

June 12, 2009

It may be wise to add home computers to your childproofing checklist, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showing that the rate of child-related injuries linked to the electronic device is on the rise.

It may be wise to add home computers to your childproofing checklist, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (July 2009) showing that the rate of child-related injuries linked to the electronic devices is on the rise.

There was a seven-fold rise in the number of people who came to the emergency room for a computer-related incident from 1994 to 2006 (from 1,267 to 9,279), according to research. The most common injuries included bruising, abrasions and lacerations. The injury increase grew faster than the amount of home computers being purchased.

The highest injury rate was associated with children under age 5. Their injuries were often a result of tripping over wires.

To prevent future accidents, lead researcher Lara B. McKenzie, PhD, advises placing all computer equipment on stable furniture, away from surface edges, and out of reach of young children. Play areas for children should be in a different area than the computer workstation. Younger children should only use computers under adult supervision.

Additionally, Dr. McKenzie advises organizing and securing all wires by anchoring them. A total of 43% of injuries to children under age 5 occurred when the child tripped over computer wires. Also, place the computer against a wall and away from walkways.

Findings are derived from a government database of treated incidents at approximately 100 U.S. hospital emergency departments.