Friday, June 28, 2013

Cellphone ‘Distracted Walking‘ Sending Pedestrians to the ER

Pedestrians are becoming more likely to be injured while using their cellphones and an estimated 1,500 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2010 as a result, a new study finds.
It‘s impossible to know how many of the injuries could have been avoided if pedestrians weren‘t using their cellphones. The study also doesn‘t determine whether the injuries are on the rise simply because more people are using cellphones.
Whatever the case, study author Jack Nasar said the findings show that cellphone use isn‘t just a danger to drivers. It‘s also a hazard to those who are only strolling.
"Stop walking when you‘re going to take a cellphone call or text. Don‘t do two things at once," advised Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University who studies cellphones and distraction.
Nasar and colleagues previously reported that pedestrians on public streets are more likely to have close calls with cars if they are using their cellphones. In the new study, the researchers sought to understand the risk on a national level by examining a federal database of emergency room visits from 2004 to 2010.

The investigators found that the estimated number of pedestrian injuries linked to cellphones -- including those that had nothing to do with cars, such as walking into something -- varied from as low as 256 to as high as 597 between 2004 and 2007. The numbers then jumped to 1,055 in 2008, 1,113 in 2009 and 1,506 in 2010.
Deaths are not included in the study. It also doesn‘t break out injuries by seriousness; some injuries were minor.
The study gives details about some injuries that have been reported. In one case, a 21-year-old male suffered a sprained elbow and spinal sprain when he was hit by a car while on his phone. In another, a 28-year-old man walked into a pole and lacerated his brow. And a 14-year-old boy fell several feet off a bridge into a ditch, bruising his chest.
People under 31 were among those most likely to be hurt while walking and using a cellphone, with those aged 21 to 25 sustaining the most injuries, followed by 16- to 20-year-olds. Men were slightly more likely (53 percent) than women to be pedestrian victims.
The estimated numbers of injuries to pedestrians on cellphones were roughly equal to those of drivers who were on cellphones. Even at the height in 2010, however, the estimated injuries accounted for fewer than 4 percent of all estimated injuries to pedestrians.
Nasar said the estimates in the study may greatly underestimate the risk of cellphone use to pedestrians.
John Lee, a professor with the department of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies distracted driving, said the new research has weaknesses. "It could be that cellphones are associated with a greater number of injuries simply because it is more likely that people are using a phone at the time," he said, "and it is hard to know if cellphone use actually causes these mishaps or is even associated with them."
Still, Lee said, "this research is consistent with other studies that show a cost of multitasking. Technology tempts us to try to do many things at once, but our ability is severely limited."
What should be done? Study lead author Nasar called for more awareness, but he doesn‘t support laws banning use of cellphones by pedestrians such as there are in some states for drivers.
The study appears in the August issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
More information
For details about pedestrian safety, try the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Will Kate Middleton Breast-Feed the Royal Baby?

John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A British television reporter is challenging Kate Middleton to breast-feed in public. Beverly Turner wrote in an op-ed in theTelegraph newspaper, "What we really need is The Duchess of Cambridge to get her Royal orbs out to feed our future monarch. And to be applauded -- not seethed at -- for doing so."

Turner, a mother of three herself, called on women with "power and influence to get their milky bosoms out and feed smiling in paparazzi pictures."

Leigh Anne O‘Connor, La Leche League leader, agreed, telling ABC’s Good Morning America: "If we‘re seeing our role models and our iconic images positively breast-feeding, that absolutely will have a positive impact on breast-feeding."

If Kate Middleton does breast-feed, she may not be the first royal to do so. It was reported that Princess Diana also breast-fed her children. ABC News Royal Contributor Victoria Murphy said, "I think quite possibly what happened was it was the first time…as time went on, it became something that people talked about. Perhaps she was the first one that people were aware of having done it."

But breast-feeding a baby isn‘t a given for any mom, royal or not. Breast-feeding rates in the U.K. have dropped, with about 6,000 fewer women choosing to do so in 2012 as compared to the prior year.

In the U.S. the number of moms who choose to breast-feed is on the rise.

Mom of three and blogger Heather Spohr tried breast-feeding all her kids, but was never totally successful. Still the pressure to do so was immense.

"It made me think that maybe I wasn‘t cut out for this whole motherhood thing," Spohr said. "The choices that she and Prince William make for breast-feeding are theirs and theirs alone. They don‘t have to be the poster child for breast-feeding or formula feeding for that matter."

Still, experts think if Kate can, Kate will.

"My opinion is absolutely that Kate will very much want to [breast-feed]," said Murphy. "She‘s going to be off with the baby, she‘s going to be looking after it and I think she‘ll be very keen to give her child that start."

"I see no reason why she wouldn‘t unless she can‘t, unless there is a reason. Some women can‘t, but I believe that she intends to," Murphy continued.

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