The Nintendo Wii has become a hugely popular form of technology and it’s used by many families as a way of relaxing, playing games and interacting together. It’s sociable nature and dual-person functionality has made it a particular hit with families. But while there’s no doubt that it can be very entertaining, using a Wii can cause accidents, too. One family tell us of their experience using a Wii and the accident that it caused.
Meet the Braunton Family
The Braunton family from Northamptonshire celebrated their dad’s birthday last year by gathering the whole family for fun and games on their Wii. “The Wii had been a joint Christmas present between eight-year-old Nathan and his sister, Stacey, and it had already been played avidly for a number of months before his birthday,” says mum, Sarah. The family loved the music games on the Wii – Stacey loved singing along to her favourite songs – and also the sporting games, as they could compete against each other.
Birthday Celebrations With the Wii
For his birthday, Nathan’s dad had been given an early present of a brand new flatscreen plasma TV, something he’d had his eye on for ages. It seemed the perfect opportunity for the family to use the Wii and the new TV together, while engaging in an activity that everyone could join in with.
“We started the celebrations with a Wii music game, which got everyone relaxed, and had a break for birthday tea and cake,” explained Sarah. “Then it was on to the serious business of Wii sports games, with the family divided into teams. All was going well and everyone was enjoying themselves until we got onto the Wii tennis.
Anyone who’s used a Wii will be familiar with the way that the games encourage actual bodily movement. In fact, you can only do well on the sporting games if you develop controlled movements, mimicking the way the sport would be performed. This is fantastic for encouraging movement and activity when playing video games, rather than just sitting still on chair, but can pose problematic.
An Accident Waiting to Happen
“As the Wii tennis game got going, things suddenly took a turn for the worse. As Nathan was making his play, he lost control of the controller in his hand and it went smashing into the front of the new flatscreen TV. It shattered instantly, spraying glass everywhere. Nathan’s hand was badly cut and bleeding. He was crying and Stacey was screaming; the TV made such a noise as it was hit and it was a shock to everyone.”
A family party and birthday celebration quickly turned into a visit to Accident and Emergency. “At first we thought Nathan’s hand was just badly cut, but it turned out they’d he also broken a few bones in it. As we’d recently had tea, we had a long wait in A&E before they could plaster his wrist.”
“We’d always taken care when using the Wii and followed the user instructions, so were surprised in a way to have such a nasty accident with it. It was even more of a surprise when the doctors announced that it wasn’t the first Wii accident they’d seen – they’re apparently quite common. We wish we’d known this before,” says Sarah. “Interestingly, the insurance company said the same thing and apparently Wii-related TV accidents and damage are more common then you’d imagine.”
The damage to Nathan’s hand and wrist has healed well and it’s not put him off using the Wii entirely. However, now that the TV has been replaced, the family are much more careful when they play their favourite games and urge other families to be careful, too. “We now insist that the kids are a reasonable way away from the TV and away from anything else that could be knocked or hit. It’s a great games console, but their safety is paramount and accidents can happen so easily.”