Computer-Related Injuries Up, Be Careful Out There!

Computer-related injuries are on the rise. The number of injuries grew by 732 percent, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports, while rate of household computer ownership grew by only 309 percent over the same period. Falling monitors and trip-inducing cords are partly to blame.

We are hurting ourselves with our computers, and more so than ever before, reports a new study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Back pain, blurred vision and mouse-related woes aside, researchers reported in the July 2009 issue of the AJPM that there has been a more than sevenfold increase in computer-related injuries due to tripping over computer equipment and head injuries due to falling computer monitors, among other incidents.
The AJPM reports that data from the national Electronic Injury Surveillance System database shows that more than 78,000 cases of "acute computer-related injuries" were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 1994 through 2006, with approximately 93 percent of the injuries occurring at home.
During the 13-year period of the study, acute computer-related injuries increased by 732 percent - though during this same time, household computer ownership grew by only 309 percent, according to the AJPM.
"The computer part most often associated with injuries was the monitor," reported the AJPM in a statement, though such injuries have declined from their peak of 37.1 percent in 1994, due to heavier cathode ray tube monitors being replaced with smaller and easier-to-lift liquid crystal display monitors.
Children under the age of 5 had the highest injury rates, followed by adults 60 years of age and older. Tripping or falling, and hitting or getting caught on equipment, were most often to blame, followed by injuries to the head.
"Future research on acute computer-related injuries is needed as this ubiquitous product becomes more intertwined in our everyday lives," said Lara B. McKenzie, with the Nationwide Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy, in the AJPM statement.