Results from Study on Charger-Causing Electrocution Burn

This study was performed by Dr. Sarah Shell on September 17th, 2020. The study was based on data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). NEISS data is collected via a select sample of 100 hospital Emergency rooms throughout the country and is statistically significant. Dr. Shell’s study limited the search to a narrow criteria, as per below.

Study Search Criteria

  • 2014-2019
  • NEISS Categories: 883, 550, 557
  • Age of victim: 0-5, 6-16, 16+
  • Location of Injury: Head/Neck/Upper/Lower
  • Hospital Diagnosis: Burns, Electric Shock
  • Disposition of victim at the time of diagnosis: All

All results were then filtered for cases where the injury was caused by a USB charger plugged into a power outlet but not a receptacle device. The component of the charger causing the injury narrowed to the charger’s connector end.

Study Results

Over the 5 years studied, there was an average of 6 incidents per year in 100 hospitals. As per above, incidents were narrowed down to those caused by USB Chargers not plugged into their receptacle device but plugged into a power outlet and occurring at the charger connector (the end that plugs into the phone/computer/etc). All other incidents involving USB chargers were discarded. Results show over half of the incidents were children 0-5 years old. Degree of injury in age group 0-5 years ranged from minor electrical burn to second-degree electrical burn and location of injury was most prominently the orofacial region, including the tongue, as well as the hands/digits.

Discussion of Results

These results were recorded from 100 hospitals that work with NEISS to provide data. While they are obligated to report on incidents to NEISS, having worked in hospitals as doctors ourselves, we are confident that environmental conditions and communication breakdown, as well as a lack of incentive, limit the reporting of incidents. Therefore, we believe the number of incidences at these hospitals to be much higher than reported. Furthermore, the database underestimates actual injuries as they only include victims treated in these 100 emergency rooms. More minor incidences involve a visit to non-emergency medical professionals or a phone consultation on at-home treatment management.

Additionally, as there are currently 6,146 hospitals in the United States (as per AHA.org), we can extrapolate an annual average number of incidents in the USA that fall into our exact specification of injury to be 369 annual incidents (at the very least due to limitations in reporting), of which 207 occur to children 0-5 years old. See below for how we arrived at these numbers.

(6146 total hospitals/100 hospitals from which these incidents are recorded) x 6 avg annual incidents = 369

56% of this total over 6 years were injury to children 0-5 years old: 369/0.56 = 207.

Dr. Shell’s Commentary

These are significant results. To put those numbers in to perspective, as we present this, in the US there are currently 281 cases of Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in children 0-5 caused by Covid-19. Which is very significant. While MIS-C cases are in the press everywhere right now, the significant injury to young children caused by plugged-in chargers, in all their ubiquity, continue to reside under the radar of conversation and education.

An underestimated 207 annual trips to the hospital. Countless non-emergent visits and home-treatments. The potential for disfiguring injury.

It is so easily and inexpensively preventable.

Dr. Sarah Shell
Co-Founder, Inventor, Researcher
Geddy’s Mom LLC


Contact us today to learn more about how you can protect your child from electrical shocks.

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