NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The popular new mobile game, Pokémon Go, has been in the news almost constantly since being released just two weeks ago.
The game encourages players to move around to capture Pokémon. Some people have been hurt because they've been distracted watching the game, rather than where they were walking or in some cases, driving.
UMC New Orleans' injury prevention program urges parents and players to be careful when playing the game.
"Because the game encourages players to move throughout their environment using the virtual reality feature, it makes players susceptible to potential threats around them," said Bridget Gardner, UMC Injury Prevention Director. "We're hearing about players who have gotten in motor vehicle and bicycle crashes or have walked into oncoming traffic while playing the game. These incidents are completely preventable if the proper precautions are taken."
UMC also warns playing the game in public can make you susceptible to becoming a crime victim.
"Anytime you're paying more attention to your phone than your surroundings, you become an easy target," said Chief T. J. Freeman, UMC's Hospital Public Safety Director. "There have even been reports of criminals using lures to attract Pokémon Go players."
The hospital offered the following safety tips:
• Do not play the game while operating a vehicle, bicycle or other mode of transportation.
• Do not walk or run while looking at your screen. Remain stationary until you're able to look up.
• Be constantly aware of your surroundings and of suspicious activity. Look up from your phone every few seconds to monitor your surroundings.
• Don't use ear buds when you are walking. Make sure you can hear what's going on around you.
• Use the buddy system when possible. There is strength in numbers.
• If alone, let someone know where you plan to play the game and when you'll return.
• Do not trespass on private property.
• Avoid playing at night. If you do, stay in well-lit and highly populated areas.