More kids are being injured by toppling TVs

More kids are being injured by toppling TVs

More children are being seriously injured by toppled television sets with most of these accidents happening out of sight of supervision, according to a new study.

Researchers reviewed 29 studies from seven countries and found that tens of thousands of children have been harmed by falling TVs, an occurrence that is becoming increasingly common. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 16.4 percent increase in TV-related injuries from 2008 to 2010. From 2000 to 2013, 279 people were killed by falling TVs and furniture.

Top-heavy, flat-screen televisions can fall over onto children, causing serious injuries that in some instances are fatal. Researchers said a very large TV falling a few feet onto a child’s head can be equivalent to the child falling 10 stories.

“TVs falling off a table or dresser have the potential to produce devastating crush injuries,” says Dr. James Richardson, emergency medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “And, because they are shorter and are often hit from above, small children are at great risk for head and neck trauma.”

In reviewing data, researchers found that at the time of an injury, children are often in the process of climbing furniture where the TV set rests. In many cases, the TV is situated on top of a piece of furniture that was never designed to hold a TV. Other common causes of accidents were toddlers trying to climb the furniture to reach the TV set or objects on or nearby it, as well as older children colliding with the TV stand or furniture, causing the TV set to topple.

“It is critically important that people properly install and secure their TVs, especially if there are going to be kids around,” says Dr. Richardson. “Having a large, heavy unstable object looming above children’s heads is a recipe for a tragedy.”

The study authors also found that 84 percent of the toppling TV-related injuries occurred at home, and 75 percent of them were not witnessed by adult caregivers.

Supervision is key to preventing serious injury from falling televisions.

“Kids are adventurous, curious and unpredictable, and they have the ability to ‘defeat’ even the best-intended, secure TV installations,” says Dr. Richardson. “Parents and guardians still need to be very aware of the dangers of these large TVs when kids are around.”

To keep kids safe, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following:

  • Place the TV on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
  • Secure the TV to the furniture with straps, brackets or braces to prevent the TV from sliding.
  • Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you have a secure fit.
  • If you have a large, heavy CRT TV, place the TV on a low, stable piece of furniture, or if you no longer use your CRT TV, consider recycling it.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture to the wall with brackets, braces or wall straps.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them. Remove items that might tempt kids to climb such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.

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About the Author

Nate Llewellyn
Nate Llewellyn

Nate Llewellyn, health enews contributor, is a manager of public affairs at Advocate Medical Group. Nate began his career as a journalist and builds daily on his nearly 20 years of writing experience. He spends most of his free time following his wife to their two sons’ various activities.