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Important Laptop Safety

Updated on February 8, 2017

Think You're Safe?

What dangers are lurking in your laptop?
What dangers are lurking in your laptop?

I Love My Laptop, But......

What's not to love about laptop computers? They're convenient, portable and lightweight. It's great being able to have only one computer that easily transports from home to work to vacation. Millions of people have at least one of these little versatile beauties and they spend a lot of time on them. For that reason, knowing about laptop safety is a really good idea.

I spend anywhere from 12 - 18 hours a day on my laptop and it effects me in ways that are uncomfortable. It's not just the neck and back pain, either. My eyes have been suffering badly, as well.

Recently, there was an item in the news about a man who died after his laptop caught fire.

Did I mention that laptop safety is pretty important?

Important Laptop Safety

Please practice safe computing. Laptop safety does not take require a big commitment, just a little common sense
Please practice safe computing. Laptop safety does not take require a big commitment, just a little common sense

Laptop Related Injuries

Muscle, Joint and Eye Strain

There's no moving your monitor farther away or your keyboard closer with a laptop. If you're like me, you end up hunched over in the same position for long periods of time. The next morning, I have a headache, my neck and shoulders are stiff and my eyes feel like burning orbs. I take two ibuprofen and start all over again for the day.

Many people have solved this problem the recommended way. They get either a separate monitor or a separate keyboard. That will give you some flexibility because you can adjust them and use them more comfortably. Whether you are using the laptop as your monitor or a separate monitor, raise it to the proper level in order to keep from having to hunch your neck over. While you're at it, ensure that you have enough distance between you and the screen. What's enough? You'll know. When it's comfortable on your eyes and body and you're not leaning forward to type, you are probably there.

You should also take regular, frequent stretch breaks to reduce back, shoulder, muscle and joint stiffness. Sitting in the same position for a prolonged period is a sure-fire way of causing yourself discomfort.

I've read that it's a bad idea to use a wrist rest. Normally, people use them with PCs to prevent carpel tunnel. There is now a school of thought that says wrist rests actually increase your odds of getting carpel tunnel. I don't use one, so can't offer a personal opinion.

Using a backpack or a wheeled case rather than a briefcase style of laptop bag will reduce stress and strain on your muscles and back, too. The weight is more evenly distributed in a backpack, allowing you to transfer your computer more easily and comfortably from place to place. Besides, it will free up both hands.

Protect Your Thighs and Sperm

If you've ever used your lap as a table for your computer, you already know that it gets very hot after a while. That can be uncomfortable but the real danger comes from the infrared radiation emitted from the laptop. The result can be a rash and even a lowered sperm count. Use a laptop stand or table and save yourself from the waist down.

Basic Cleanliness

In all likelihood, I wouldn't have associated this tip with laptop safety before. However, with Swine Flu (H1N1) so much on everyone's mind, I feel it may be useful to people.

Did you know that the University of Arizona did a study and discovered that there are more germs on a keyboard than on a toilet seat? Keep your keyboard as clean of germs as possible by wiping it with an antibacterial cloth, at least once a week. Make sure that the laptop is turned off before doing this.

Computer Safety

Proper maintenance is an important part of laptop safety
Proper maintenance is an important part of laptop safety

About That Laptop Fire

There was a battery recall a while back. Apparently, there was some problem with Hewlett Packard laptop batteries, on certain models. I'm sure there must have been other computer companies who had to do the same at some time or another. The point is, a damaged or faulty battery has the potential to start a fire. Make sure yours is not on a recall list. If it is, get it replaced as soon as possible. If your battery is not on a recall list but is not working properly, same advice.

If you followed that link in the first part of this hub (about the laptop fire) and read the news report, you know that the fire began when a laptop was left on a couch. Bad idea. Very bad, in fact in this case, it was lethal. The computer in question also had a faulty battery. Those two things alone, caused one man to burn to death.

As I said before, I'm on my laptop for many hours every day. I always unplug it when I'm done at the end of the day and place it on a table for the night.

Recently, I had to get a new plug for my laptop. Why? Because I was working away late one night when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bright little flash. When I investigated, I discovered that sparks were coming from my cord. I immediately pulled the plug from the wall and the next day, replaced it.

A fire can happen so easily. It only takes a couple of minutes to make sure that your cord is intact. Try using your laptop without the cord to make sure that your battery is working properly.

Do You Practice Safe Laptop Computing? *** New Poll ***

How regularly do you engage in laptop safety and maintenance?

See results

Please Use Laptop Safety - It's Important!

If you're still not convinced that you need to pay attention to this topic, watch the video above again but imagine it's happening in your bedroom or livingroom. Around your family.

I don't want to scare anyone with the fire story, or suggest that you remain obsessively vigilant but please do practise some laptop safety. Not only will you suffer less physically but it just might save a life.

© 2009 Herald Daily


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    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      8 years ago from A Beach Online

      Hi, Bill. You pose an interesting question, for which I have no answer. I'll see what I can find out, though.

      That sounds a little scary about your leg getting numb but I'm glad that it didn't hurt and that the problem went away. It's really not a good idea to keep it on your body, not sure why they called them laptops in the first place.

      Thanks for your sharing your story and for your query.

    • profile image

      william kreutzmann 

      8 years ago

      I used my laptop on my lap for a long time and my right leg got numb and felt as if it had been mycro waved or just cooked. It did not hurt at first, not hot? Then I lost feeling on the top of my leg. I have put a thick book under the computer and the problem has gone away? Beside infared waves are there any other waves that might contribute to this?


    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      9 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thanks, Fester. That advice about not using a laptop on your lap is good advice, especially if you want to father children. :)

      Thanks for the follow, Fester.

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Excellent advice. I had heard about the lap top not really being ideal as a "lap" top for us gentleman. Good info here sir and pleased to begin following you on your hubs.

    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      9 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thanks, Tina. When I bought my laptop, I had no idea that there were any real dangers associated with them. For instance, I mistakenly thought that people used a LAPtop on their laps. After my purchase, my son informed me that I shouldn't keep there for very long. I figured there might be others who don't realize this stuff, too.

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      I am also using a laptop. It was nice of you to share these tips. It reminded me about the importance of its safety and proper care. Nice hub.

    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      10 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thanks very much, Dusanotes.

      Yes, my mind can be pretty active, right up until the time it goes into a 'TILT' from overuse. :)

      I was thinking of getting one of those x-ray shields like the dentists use. They're pretty big, should protect all the important stuff. I swear I can feel myself cooking from the inside out, sometimes. Kind of like being microwaved.

      The next thing they should develop is a contraption that either hooks over the shoulders and/or around the waist so that I can get up and move around while still using my laptop. Then I could Skype, compute, play a CD and exercise all at the same time. Of course, your idea about brain implants is good too, that'd be a lot a lighter. The idea of dieing of radiation poisoning in ten years seems kind of nasty but boy, would I get a lot done before my eyes fry out of my head.

      Thanks for coming by, DN. I enjoyed your active mind, too.

    • dusanotes profile image


      10 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Hey, Herald Dailey. This was a great hub. Very unusual. I don't think you could find this kind of detailed info anywhere else. You have a great, active mind. I can see where the radiation would be great, especially if you have the laptop on your lap for sixteen hours. Maybe you need to buy a rubber radiation barrier to set under your laptop. I think you alluded to it. Getting up and stretching, all good suggestions.

      Say, HD, what's the next new innovation in laptops - er, I mean in communication? Isn't it going to get easier rather than harder? Aren't computers supposed to get easier and smaller? Maybe they can embed something into our brains next to completely make computers obsolete. Then can you imagine the radiation. People would live ten years and die of exposure. Any thoughts?

    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      10 years ago from A Beach Online

      Hi, Dohn. You're welcome and yes, the same rules apply. Dying from laptop use is pretty rare but obviously possible, since it has happened, at least to one poor guy.

      I hope you're kidding about the person dying while gaming!

      Thanks for dropping in, Dohn. It's always a pleasure to see you.

    • dohn121 profile image


      10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hey, HD. Thank you for the tips. I'll be buying a Netbook soon, but I'm sure that the same rules apply. I've never heard of anyone dying from using a laptop, but have heard of some who died while long-term online gaming (World of Warcraft). That really is awful.


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