Do Parental Distractions from Smart Phones Result in More Child Injuries?

Researcher Craig Palsson from the Department of Economics at Yale University has found that “from 2005 to 2012, injuries to children under five increased by 10%. Using the
expansion of ATT’s 3G network, I find that smartphone adoption has a causal impact
on child injuries. This effect is strongest amongst children ages 0-5, but not children
ages 6-10, and in activities where parental supervision matters. I put this forward as
indirect evidence that this increase is due to parents being distracted while supervising
children, and not due to increased participation in accident-prone activities.” Read the research.

Palsson assembled data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, run by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The government does not collect any information from the phone, but instead relies on a sample of hospital emergency room visits involving consumer products. (Hat tip,


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