iPhone to blame for dramatic rise in head and neck injuries - study

Neck and head injuries have skyrocketed in the last decade, and you've probably already guessed why.

Research in the US has found after gradually rising for a few years, injury rates shot up in 2007 - the year the iPhone was released - and have been dramatically worsening since then. 

"Although mobile telephones were gaining popularity prior to that time point, their functions were limited, and they were therefore less likely to be major distractions when compared with modern-day smartphones," the researchers wrote in journal JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery

In 1998, there were around 1.8 cellphone-related injuries per million person-years; this slowly rose to 4.63 in 2006, then almost doubled to 8.99 in 2007, before tripling from there to 29.19 by 2016. 

"Providing constant access to a variety of applications and internet browsers, these devices have become a necessary but potentially dangerous tool used by most people in the United States."

The most common injury was laceration, followed by bruises and scrapes.

How injury rates have gone up over time.
How injury rates have gone up over time. Photo credit: JAMA

Data released last year suggested New Zealand's suffering a similar plague - ACC claims up from 94 in 2008, costing $37,000, to 239 in 2017, costing $202,181.

Those most likely to hurt themselves whether walking or driving are aged under 30. While most injuries are the result of distraction, kids under 13 were far more likely to hurt themselves with the phone itself. 

"Modern smartphones may be substantial in size and weight and, under particular circumstances, can cause physical damage, especially to a child."

Mild traumatic brain injuries were also common. 

Cellphones were linked earlier this year to a rise in crashes involving pedestrians on Wellington's main street.