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Smartphones to be Blamed for Increasing Playground Injuries in Children

Update Date: Nov 25, 2012 12:39 PM EST

A new research warns parents against indulging themselves too much in to their phones, as this is causing them to be careless towards their children, consequently resulting in increased accidents.

Experts say that a sharp rise in playground falls and mishaps in the home can be blamed on parents being distracted by text messages and emails, Mail Online reports.

NHS data has revealed a one-third rise in the number of children being admitted to hospitals due to playground-related falls in the last five years.

Experts, for the same, blame a rise in the number of smartphones, pointing that children tend to behave more mischievously when they know that parents are distracted and not paying attention to them.

Last year, some 9,564 children were admitted to hospitals due to playground-related injuries. This number represents an increase in such cases by 2000 compared to year 2006.

“We are all guilty of being distracted by our phones. As a society, we need to start setting parameters about when it is and is not appropriate to use them,” June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation, which runs nurseries in the capital, was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

“It is a balancing act. But parents need to be aware when their phones are having too much power over their lives and try to put them away when they are spending time with their children. Children crave attention and if they are not getting it from their mums and dads, they will sometimes do dangerous things to grab it,” June added.

“It’s very well understood within the emergency-medicine community that utilising devices - hand-held devices - while you are assigned to watch your kids -that resulting injuries could very well be because you are utilising those tools,” Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the emergency department at the University of California Los Angeles medical centre, said.

The total number of injuries involving children is not compiled by the NHS. However, the U.S. statistics show a 12 percent rise in the last five years.

“Young children have a natural risk to hurt themselves if they are not properly watched by an adult. If the adult is distracted, clearly the risk is increased. We know that drivers and pedestrians are distracted and more at risk when they use devices. It’s a fairly small leap to suggest that supervisors are distracted,” Professor David Schwebel, an expert in psychology at the University of Alabama, was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

“Supervision is central to ensuring that young children are not exposed to significant risk in the home, on the road or while out playing. Distractions come in many forms, of course, but with the apparent rise in smartphone use, it’s important to remind parents and carers that texting, calling and surfing the net at inappropriate times can put their child at unnecessary risk of being hurt in an accident,” Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said.

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