Health

13-Year-Old Girl Sustains Serious Burns From Cell Phone

| by Karin Sun
Second degree burns on Gabbie's neck Second degree burns on Gabbie's neck

An Illinois teenager has suffered second-degree burns on her neck after she used a cell phone while it was charging. Her mother is now warning others about phone safety.

Jackie Fedro of Highland Park, Illinois, said she bought the T-Mobile phone for her 13-year-old daughter, Gabbie, for Christmas, BuzzFeed News reported. Gabbie is reportedly very active in sports and always on the go, so Fedro thought the phone would help her stay in contact with her parents during her "crazy practice schedule."

A week after Gabbie received the phone, Fedro heard her daughter screaming in her room.

"She came running downstairs after it [happened] grabbing her neck," Fedro said, according to BuzzFeed News. "She was in so much pain she was screaming hysterically."

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The teen had reportedly been using the phone while it was plugged into a wall charger.  An electric current from the phone had traveled through the metal necklace she was wearing and burned her neck.

"She suffered painful second-degree burns and now will have a scar all the way around her neck," Fedro said.

T-Mobile has since sent the family a new phone free of charge and offered to pay Gabbie's medical bills. The company has also asked the family to send back the defective phone for testing. 

In light of her daughter's accident, Fedro is now warning other parents about phone safety on social media.

"13 yr old burned! Necklace caught current from phone that was charging," Fedro posted on Twitter with the hashtags #PhoneSafety, #TeenSafety, and #SafetyFirst.

Scott Wolfson of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that the majority of phone-related injuries are a result of the phone's lithium-ion batteries overheating, which could lead to explosions or burns.

Wolfson advises that consumers use the official charger that came with the phone and avoid purchasing replacements from third-party vendors.

“You really shouldn’t go to a mall kiosk for a replacement battery or charger,” he said, according to BuzzFeed News.

Fedro said her daughter's phone and all of the equipment that came with it, including the charger, were purchased new.

This is not the first time a consumer has been seriously harmed as a result of using a cell phone while charging it.

In 2013, a Chinese woman was electrocuted after answering a call on her iPhone 5 while it was plugged into the charger, CNET reported at the time. In light of the woman's death, Apple posted a warning on its Chinese website urging customers to avoid using third-party chargers. 

Sources: BuzzFeed News, CNET

Photo Credit: Jackie Fedro/BuzzFeed News

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