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Computers Causing Injuries in the Home
Date:6/9/2009

Falling monitors, dangerous wires a growing risk, especially for kids, study shows

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Computers are everywhere in the home these days -- the office, the kid's room, maybe even on the kitchen table.

And that, according to new research, has led to more people showing up in emergency rooms with computer-related injuries.

That increase has not been slight: From 1994 to 2006, injuries caused by people tripping over computer wires or getting hit by falling equipment rose from about 1,300 a year to 9,300 a year, an increase of 732 percent nationwide.

Children under the age of 5 had the highest injury rate. The leading cause of injury for small children, and for adults over 60, was tripping or falling over computer equipment.

But while most injuries were to the extremities such as the arms or legs, young children were five times more likely than other age groups to sustain a head injury.

"It's a pretty significant problem, given that computers are in most homes these days and many homes have more than one," said study author Lara McKenzie, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The study will be published in the June 9 online issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

From 1989 to 2003, the number of U.S. households with a computer increased from 15 percent to 62 percent, according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly one-third of those had at least two computers.

"There are a lot of safety recommendations for all areas of the home -- the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, but computers are not mentioned in the literature of the safety world," McKenzie said. "Yet kids are spending a lot of time on computers, and people are spending a lot of time on their computers or in their home offices."

McKenzie and her colleagues looked at
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