Television Tip-Over Injuries Send Hundreds of Children to Hospital: Study

At least one child is injured every 30 minutes by a falling television or other TV-related incident, resulting in more than 17,000 childhood injuries each year, according to new research that highlights the potential safety risks posed by televisions tipping over. 

In a study published in the August issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Child Injury Prevention Alliance identified nearly 400,000 children treated in emergency rooms over a 22-year period after suffering a television-related injury.

Among the cases identified, about 64% involved children under the age of five, with the majority of all injuries occurring with children under three.

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Falling televisions accounted for more than 50% of the injuries, with 46% of the incidents occurring when a television tipped over off of a dresser or armoire and 31% occurring when a TV fell from an entertainment center or TV stand.

Dr. Gary Smith, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance, and his team of researchers, compiled the data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, focusing on children treated in U.S. Emergency rooms from 1990 through 2011 for TV related injuries.

TV Injuries Spiked In Recent Years

In recent years, the style and number of TVs in homes in the U.S. has changed and increased. Nearly every household owns at least one TV, with many homes having two or more models in the household, offering many more opportunities for young children to be injured by falling TVs.

Among the TV tip-over injuries reviewed in this study, more than 12,000 occurred in 2011, which was an increase of 125% from 1990. In addition, the number of injuries associated with a TV falling from a dresser or armoire increased by 344% since 1995.

Researchers attribute the spike in falling TV injuries to the increased purchase of newer TVs. As flat screen models are brought into the family home, older and bulkier models are often put in other rooms with less supervision. They are placed on top of furniture that was not designed to hold the weight of the large unit and may pose an increased risk of falling, resulting in injuries to small children.

More than 60% of those injuries found in the study were boys, and 63% of the injuries were sustained to the head and neck. Injuries to the legs accounted for 21% of injuries.

Smith cautions parents not to place remote controls on top of TV sets, as this may causes young children to climb onto unstable furniture while reaching for the remote.

Other injuries included running into TV units or injuries sustained when a TV set is moved from one location to another.

Preventing TV Tipping Injuries

The authors of the study explain additional safety steps should be taken to prevent TV injuries.

“The rate of pediatric injuries caused by falling TVs is increasing, which underscores the need for increased prevention efforts,” said Smith.

The author’s recommend safety anchors or anti-tip devices be provided with every TV through distribution programs or educational programs. They suggest manufacturers should redesign TVs to improve stability and prevent falls.

Similar concern have been raised in the past over falling appliances, such as stoves and laundry machines, which are now often anchored to the walls.


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