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Harry Potter's Talents Include Protecting Kids from Injury

New book releases coincide with sharp declines in children's emergency department visits

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Simply by materializing in bookstores, Harry Potter appears to have a magical ability to protect accident-prone muggle children from traumatic injury, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Stephen Gwilym, MRCS, of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues studied children ages 7 to 15 who were admitted to their emergency department with musculoskeletal injuries during the summer weekends of 2003-2005. They compared the number of admissions during the weekends of June 21, 2003 and July 16, 2005 (the respective release dates for The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince) with those of control summer weekends.

The researchers found admission rates of 36 and 37, respectively, during the "Potter" weekends compared to an average of 67 admissions during the control weekends.

"Both these weekends were in mid-summer with good weather," the authors write. "It may therefore be hypothesized that there is a place for a committee of safety conscious, talented writers who could produce high-quality books for the purpose of injury prevention. Potential problems with this project would include an unpredictable increase in childhood obesity, rickets and loss of cardiovascular fitness."

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