The seatbelt lights are on for good reason. Condé Nast Traveler reports that turbulence-related injuries are rising, adding one more thing to worry about at 30,000 feet.
The travel magazine looked at the Federal Aviation Administration's new Fact Sheet on Turbulence, which examines a slew of turbulence-related data collected from 2015 and 2016.
"Injuries from mid-air turbulence jumped from 21 in 2015 to 44 in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 109%," CNT reports.
Don't know exactly what a turbulence-related injury really is? It's not just anxiety from a shaking plane or some discomfort from the pressure of white-knuckle grabbing an armrest. Only injuries that result in 48 hours or more of hospitalization get reported to the National Transportation Safety Board, so these injuries aren't just bumps and bruises. The fact sheet mentions "fractures; hemorrhages; nerve, muscle, or tendon damage; organ injuries; and second- or third-degree burns."
The report adds that 75% of the injuries affected passengers. However, during turbulence, crew members suffer more severe injuries when they do get hurt, since they're more likely to be walking around the cabin during an instance of turbulence.
USA Today reports that the most severe injuries include a flight attendant being "thrown to the ceiling and then struck her face on a counter that gashed her cheek and fractured a facial bone. Another incident included a flight attendant that "scalded her left shoulder and side with second-degree burns" after a hot pot of water flew into the air during a wave of turbulence.
With news that climate change may be increasing turbulence worldwide, it's important to remember to heed the crew's instructions during any shaky situations. CNT suggests staying buckled up whenever you're seated, sticking to all carry-on size limitations, and making sure that the kiddos are properly strapped in, too.