'Mesmerising mobiles' putting children in danger, study warns

The Child Accident Prevention Trust has said many adults have become so addicted to technology that they are risking the safety of younger family members

Image: Pixabay

Distracted parents are putting their children at risk because of their obsession with mobile phones, a senior paediatrician has warned.

Youngsters are in danger of being involved in a "nasty accident" if they, along with their guardians, refuse to curb their smartphone addiction, said Dr Rahul Chodarhi.

It comes after new research found almost a quarter of parents have been engrossed in their devices when their children have had an accident or a near miss.

The study, carried out by the Child Accident Prevention Trust found the behaviour was rubbing off on children, with 15% of youngsters having been involved in accidents or near misses without looking when on their smartphone.

  • Recent figures have found two-thirds of Britons own a smartphone, with one in three checking the device within five minutes of waking up.

Dr Chodarhi, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "Accidents often happen when we're distracted and mobile phones are increasingly to blame - whether it's a teenager stepping out into traffic while instant messaging or a baby grabbing at a hot drink or biting into a liquitab while their parent is replying to a text.

"It only takes a split second for an accident to happen so I urge parents and young people to adapt their behaviour."

Image: Pixabay

Following the research, which polled 1,000 parents of young children, families are being urged to switch off phones at "pressure points during the day" to keep their kids safer.

Chief executive at the Child Accident Prevention Trust, Katrina Phillips, said: "Mobile phones are a godsend for parents under pressure - we can do the shopping, keep in touch with friends and family, and keep our children entertained."

"But while we're mesmerised by our mobiles, we're putting children in danger. Serious accidents happen in seconds, often while we're distracted, and mobiles are seriously distracting.

“That's why we're encouraging families to turn off technology at pressure points during the day, to help keep children safe."

Child Safety Week falls this week between 6-12 June.

  • Click here to download tips to help keep your child safe. 
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