Hey parents, of all the things putting your kid’s life at risk, would you ever suspect you and your cell phone would be on the list? Believe it or not, that’s the message from a growing number of ER doctors today. They say that in the past five years, injuries to young children jumped 12%. And experts say that’s shocking when you consider that kid injury rates had been steadily falling since the 1990s.

So, what’s changed? Well, in the same five years, more than 50 million adults bought cell phones! And experts say the growing link between cell phones, distracted parents, and kids getting hurt is very clear when you consider the type of injuries being reported. For example:

  • Injuries involving playground equipment, like swings and slides, are up 17%.

  • Injuries involving nursery equipment, like tables and cribs, are up 31%.

  • And injuries involving swimming pools are up a whopping 36%!

Experts say these are all examples of places where kids can get seriously hurt if a parent or guardian gets distracted, and looks away for even a few seconds.

Under normal circumstances, research shows that children under age 9 are seven times more likely than teens and tweens to be injured when they’re not being watched. But based on this report, the risk goes way up when parents are on their smart phone.

Consider a recent case in Connecticut, where a woman was charged with reckless endangerment, after a 2-year-old she was watching nearly drowned in a public swimming pool. In a statement, she said she looked away from the boy for “only 20 seconds.” But security camera footage clearly shows the boy flailing in the water for at least a minute, while the woman stood nearby, snapping a photo of herself with her smartphone.