Marc S. Dorman
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Falling TVs still injure thousands of young children

Of all the things that parents of young children in Baltimore and around the country have to worry about, falling TVs seem like something from another time when heavy cathode ray sets were the centerpieces of living rooms. However, figures just published in the journal Pediatrics show that between 1990 and 2011, more than 380,000 children in the United States were treated in emergency rooms for television-related injuries. Nearly two-thirds of them were under the age of five. The majority of those injuries were the result of a falling television. This was also the television-related injury that increased the most.

The child injury study provides some interesting details about most common injuries caused by falling TVs. The majority of injuries are to the head and neck. Almost half of the televisions fell from a dresser or armoire. Over thirty percent fell from an entertainment center or TV stand.

So why in this age of lightweight flatscreen televisions are doctors still seeing so many children with injuries serious enough to warrant medical treatment? The president of the HYPERLINK “” t “_hplink” Child Injury Prevention Alliance postulates that because the new, lightweight wireless sets are easy to move, they are often placed on surfaces that are not strong enough, unstable, or too small. They also tip over more easily than older, heavier sets.

The authors of the study suggest that these injury rates could be reduced if the same voluntary safety standards for furniture like dressers were required for TVs. Furniture safety standards mandate an anti-tip device or safety anchor on the item. If these injury rates continue, the government could eventually call for safety devices on televisions. Until then, attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases and experts on child safety recommend that parents purchase these devices separately and install them on their TVs. They also remind parents not to place remote controls, toys or other objects on top of a television that can tempt a child to climb on top and knock it over. As one child safety expert noted, injuries from falling TVs are completely preventable.

The Huffington Post, “Falling TV Injuries A Growing Problem For Children” Catherine Pearson, Jul. 22, 2013