Doctors warn of selfie-related injury risks

Selfie phenomenon has 'exploded'
  • Deborah Condon

People need to be educated about the potential risk of injury when taking selfies, doctors in Galway have warned.

According to a team from the department of trauma and orthopaedic surgery in University College Hospital Galway (UCHG), the selfie phenomenon ‘has exploded over the past two years'.

However, while selfies have been linked with a large number of mortalties, traumas, such as fractures, have rarely been publicised.

The doctors decided to focus on this issue by highlighting four cases, all of which presented to UCHG over a one-week period.

In the first case, a 13-year-old girl attempted to take a selfie on a trampoline, but collided with another person, resulting in a broken right arm. In the second case, a 17-year-old female fell while attempting to take a selfie as she ran up steps. She broke her left arm.

A third case saw a 27-year-old women fall while trying to take a picture on stairs with a group of friends. She fell down four steps and broke her right arm.

The final case saw a 40-year-old woman breaking her right arm after trying to take a selfie while walking on uneven ground at a well-known tourist attraction.

The doctors noted that all photos were taken using a smartphone, not a standard camera. They insisted that as social media platforms promote and popularise selfies, ‘the associated hazards and potential injuries need to be reported and published'.

They said that spatial awareness is often poorer when taking selfies because the person is focusing on the device they are using.

"In our institution, we have noted an increase in the past number of months of selfie-related trauma. To combat this increase in trauma figures, education about the hazards of these practices needs to be implemented.

"Taking selfies is now considered the norm worldwide...but this is the first medial case series documenting this mechanism of injury. It is important to educate society about the risks associated with taking selfies in order to reduce both major and minor trauma associated with the new trend," the doctors said.

Details of these cases are published in the Irish Medical Journal.




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