July 23rd, 2013 - by DKRPA
According to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, more than 17,000 children are injured in the U.S. every year by a TV falling and striking them. That calculates out to an average of one such injury every half hour. Furthermore, the rate of these completely preventable injuries rose substantially between 1990 and 2012, the period covered by the study. While preventing head and neck injuries to kids is the top priority, if you’re a parent, you should also be aware that if someone else’s child is injured by a falling TV or by any other negligent condition in your home, you could be held financially responsible.
The study found that nearly two-thirds of the children injured by falling TVs were boys, and the age group most often involved was those under 5 years of age. Of the injuries studied, almost two-thirds were neck or head injuries. About 75 percent of those involved only cuts or soft-tissue damage, but concussions and head trauma accounted for 13 percent of the injuries to those under age 5. Head injuries made up 7 percent of the injuries among children aged 5-18.
Could it be that the increase in the number of TV-fall injuries is just because there are more people with television sets? Although it’s true that the number of U.S.
households with multiple TVs has doubled over the 22-year period studied, the researchers don’t think that fully explains the increase.
One reason is that children used to be injured a lot by colliding with televisions, particularly when more sets were designed to be installed on the floor. With sets becoming thinner and lighter, more are being set up on top of furniture, so it makes sense that the study found a sharp reduction in TV-collision injuries over the study period. The rate of TV-fall injuries, however, went up by 125 percent.
So, what can you do to make sure you don’t have a dangerously negligent condition that could allow your TV or another piece of furniture from falling over and injuring a child? Citing recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the study’s authors recommend:
- Wall-mount your TV if possible. If not, only put your TV on furniture designed for it, and consider mounting both the TV stand and the TV to the wall.
- Since kids climb furniture — often by pulling out drawers — never put anything tempting out of reach on the TV stand.
- Supervise small children around TVs and heavy furniture. Tragically, of TV-fall accidents in which children were killed, about 45 percent occurred in bedrooms.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “TVs Toppling Onto Tots at Alarming Rate, Study Finds,” Brenda Goodman, HealthDay, July 22, 2013