TVs Are Dangerous for Children and may Result in Personal Injury

By Logan Quirk

TV and Personal Injury Danger to your children

That flat-screen television in your den or living room may be great for watching sports or movies, but it might be dangerous, or even lethal, to young children. If not properly secured, larger flat-screen TVs can topple over and cause serious personal injuries to nearby children.

FACTS and Personal Injury danger

According to Consumer Product Safety Commission data, there were about 17,000 TV tip-over accidents in 2011 that caused injuries requiring emergency medical attention; children aged nine or younger were involved in 29% of those incidents. In fact, one children’s safety group says on average a child dies from a TV tip-over every three weeks, and TV tip-overs on average send a child to the emergency room every 45 minutes.

A study published in July 2014 in the medical journal Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, looked at 22 years of emergency room treatment reports for TV-related injuries to nearly 381,000 patients under age 18.

The analysis, by three researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, both in Columbus, Ohio, found that TV-related injuries had grown by 95% from when its data began in 1990 to the endpoint in 2011. Falling TVs are making up an increasingly large share of total TV-related injuries (which also include such other injuries as running into a TV, or being hurt while moving a TV).

Secure the TV to prevent personal injury

Head and neck injuries were the most frequently treated, with leg injuries next. In almost half of the TV tip-overs, the set fell off a dresser or armoire, while nearly another third involved sets falling off a TV stand or home entertainment center.

During the years studied, children’s exposure to TV sets grew; nearly every U.S. household has at least one TV, and 55% own three or more TVs. Contributing to the problem, say some safety experts, has been the gradual replacement of older, heavier cathode-ray TVs with larger flat-screen models, which are more likely to be found in other parts of a home, perhaps set on a dresser or other makeshift location. Lighter and with a higher center of gravity than the older TVs, the flat-screen TVs – if not securely anchored to furniture or mounted on a wall — can be pushed or knocked over by even a young child.

As far back as 2008, the CPSC recalled China-made TV stands for presenting tip-over dangers, and just a few months ago, the agency recalled 17 models of Vizio E-Series 39” and 42” LED flat-panel TVs due to tip-over hazards. The Taiwan-based manufacturer said it had received reports of 51 tip-overs from the recalled models but knew of no injuries. Purchasers are being urged to replace the small pedestal-style support with a larger, sturdier re-designed unit the maker will supply.

Recommendations to Protect against Personal Injury from TV’s

Some safety advocates want makers to adopt new anti-tipover standards for large-screen TVs similar to those adopted in 2009 by makers of large furniture items like chests, dressers, bureaus and TV stands. The CPSC also advises parents to use wall mounts or anti-tipover devices for large-screen TVs, to make sure any TV stand or furniture item is large enough to support a TV safely, to avoid putting remote controls or other items on top of a TV, and to watch children to make sure they don’t try to climb up a piece of furniture supporting a TV or run or jump near a TV.

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