According to SafeKidsUSA, 40 percent of all pediatric injuries occur at the beginning and end of every school year. To help prevent these types of accidents, NYU Langone experts suggest:
Backpack Safety: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010 nearly 28,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms for backpack-related injuries like strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures. Kids often carry more than 20-25 lbs in their backpacks, nearly double that recommended by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon (AAOS) to minimize danger to back problems. Available for comment is Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine service at NYU Langone Medical Center:
- Parents would be surprised by the weight of their children’s backpacks – keep content weight to 10-15 percent or less of child’s weight, remove overweight items and put heaviest items close to the students back
- Use both shoulder straps to distribute the weight – a pack with a waist strap is best
- Encourage children to speak up if they have numbness or tingling in the arms, neck or legs
Sports Injuries: More than 30 million children participate in sports each year in the United States – with approximately 715,000 sports and recreation injuries occurring in the school settings. Available for comment is Dennis Cardone, DO, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center and an expert in treating pediatric sports injuries.
- Organized sports through schools, community clubs and recreation areas should have clear direction and documented safety standards and procedures that are updated and maintained
- Coaches should be well-versed in proper equipment use and enforce the rules, be trained in first aid and CPR and have a plan for dealing with emergencies
- Most organized sports-related injuries actually occur during practice – take the same safety precautions you would during a game
Safe Gaming and Texting. Repetitive motion injuries in the hand and fingers are increasing in teens and younger children as mobile phones and video gaming devices become ubiquitous. In the UK, 3.8 million people complain of injuries resulting from text messaging every year. Available for comment is Yusuf Yazici, MD, a rheumatologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, who co-authored a study that found kids and teens that spend a lot of time playing video games or texting on their smartphones may end up with serious wrist and finger pain – and potentially arthritis in the future. “The negative impact that playing computer games and using mobile phones can have on the joints of young children is raising concerns about the health impact of modern technology later in life.”
- Limit the number of texts each day – keeping it to around 50. If you feel any pain while texting – stop! Use the other hand or call instead
- Maintain good posture – prolonged slouching increases strain on the back and neck
- Take a break – just like stretching your legs, the finger joints and muscles need to be flexed and rested every few minutes
NYU Langone Medical Center’s orthopaedic surgeons provide highly specialized, in-patient orthopaedic surgical care at the Hospital for Joint Diseases (HJD) at 301 East 17th Street in Manhattan. HJD is currently ranked among the top 10 orthopaedic programs nationwide by U.S. News and World Report and is accredited by The Joint Commission and the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). In addition, the NYU Langone Medical Center Outpatient Surgery Center at 333 East 38th Street offers dedicated state-of-the-art facilities for minimally-invasive, outpatient orthopaedic procedures. Learn more about NYU Langone’s Hospital for Joint Diseases at http://hjd.med.nyu.edu/or by calling 212-598-6000.
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