Cellphone-related injuries on the rise, study says

Henrietta Brewer
December 9, 2019

Writing in the journal Jama Otolaryngology, Paskhover and colleagues report how they analysed data from about 100 hospitals in the USA, collected between January 1998 and December 2017. Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical College mentioned his expertise treating sufferers with cellphone accidents prompted him to look into the issue.

According to the study, "mobile phone head and neck injuries have increased significantly over the last 20 years, many cases resulting from distraction". But things are more complicated, with the study's authors looking at how people were injured.

The study also affirmed the need to educate and promote safe practices for the use of mobile phones, as the same are gaining influence in an individual's daily life. Many of these injuries were caused by people using their phones while doing other activities, such as texting while walking or driving.


Researchers behind the study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology and first reported on by The Verge, analysed a national database of head and neck injuries related to cell phones that resulted in hospital visits dating back 20 years. According to researchers, this may be due to the fact that touch screen devices require more attention and distract from what is happening around them. When that number is extrapolated to include the whole country, the total is likely to be more than 76,000 people.

Interestingly, children under the age of 13 were most at risk of of direct injuries while adults were responsible for most injuries that came about from distractions.

The largest percentage of injuries occurred at home. "I have had a patient who was lying in bed looking at her phone, and it slipped out of her hand, hit her in the face, broke her nose", said Paskhover.


Children under 13 years of age were much more likely to suffer mechanical injuries, such as a cellphone battery explosion.

Worse, he and his colleagues also found that these types of injuries are occurring more and more frequently.

"The phone went from being a phone to being a mobile platform", Paskhover said. Of the injuries, cuts or lacerations made up 26 percent of cases, contusions or abrasions made up approximately 25 percent of cases, and internal organ injuries made up just over 18 percent of cases.


Earlier this year, NY lawmakers proposed a ban on texting while crossing the street.

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