Falling TVs pose a growing safety threat to young children
Television is often blamed for a host of childhood maladies, from eye strain to obesity, but rarely is it viewed as a source of physical trauma. According to recent research, however, children are injured by TV sets at a frequency that may surprise many parents. In fact, on average, a child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room for television-related injuries about once every 30 minutes – the length of a typical sit-com episode.
Between 1990 and 2011, more than 380,000 U.S. children were treated in emergency rooms for injuries relating to television sets, according to data published recently in the medical journal Pediatrics. Most of those injuries occurred when a child was hit by a falling TV.
Falling television injuries on the rise
While the overall rate of television-related child injuries remained stable throughout the two-decade sample period, the proportion of those injuries directly caused by falling TVs has increased in recent years. These findings suggest that falling televisions may be a growing threat to the safety of young children in the United States.
The authors of the study suggest that the increasing prevalence of falling television injuries may be due to the fact that many households are replacing older, heavier TV sets with newer flat-screen televisions. Because the flat-screen TVs are lighter and less stable than older models, they may be more prone to tipping over and falling on young children if not secured in place by anchors or stabilization devices.
Additionally, the researchers explained, after purchasing a new television, many families relocate their older, heavier TV sets to other areas of the house where they may be less stable. For instance, when balanced on a bedroom bureau or other location not designed to hold a television, a TV set may be more likely to fall and cause injury to a child.
Nearly two-thirds of children treated in emergency rooms for TV-related injuries are under five years old, according to the report, and most suffer from head or neck wounds.
Protecting kids from falling TV risk
Dr. Gary Smith, one of the researchers contributing to the study, is a pediatric emergency room doctor and president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance. “These are 100 percent preventable injuries,” Smith told NBC News. To protect children from the risk of injury from falling TVs, Smith recommends installing TV anchors or anti-tip devices. In addition, he cautioned, adults should avoid placing remote controls, toys or other objects on top of television sets, because this may tempt children to climb on them and risk injury.
If your child has been injured as a result of a dangerous product, unsafe environment or poor supervision, you have the option of seeking monetary compensation for your child’s injuries and related medical and rehabilitative expenses. Contact an experienced child injury lawyer in your area for more information.