Many homes have new TVs decorating the living room, bedroom, den and even the kitchen. These TVs often feature the latest wide, flat screens, which give viewers great definition and clarity. But while they provide a beautiful viewing experience, flat screen TVs are top-heavy on a narrow base, and they can easily be pulled off an entertainment center or other piece of furniture.
Many families might be surprised to know that every three weeks a child dies from a television tipping over. And nearly 13,000 more children are injured in the U.S. each year. Alarmingly, over the last 10 years there has been a 31 percent increase in TV tip-over-related injuries.
A recent report by Safe Kids Worldwide and SANUS revealed that young children are at greatest risk of TV tip-overs. The study, A Report to the Nation on Home Safety: The Dangers of TV Tip-Overs, includes data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and new findings from Safe Kids Worldwide primary research.
The research shows that seven out of 10 children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 years old or younger. Sadly, this age group also accounts for nine out of 10 serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
“Every 45 minutes, or less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child visits the emergency room because of a TV tipping over,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Dramas and tragedies should be on TV, not caused by them.”
It’s not just the newer flat screens that may cause a trip to the emergency room. Large and heavy old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs placed on dressers or high furniture can also tip over if children climb the drawers to reach a remote control, a piece of candy, a video game, or anything else that attracts their attention.
According to the research, three out of four parents reported they don’t secure their TV to the wall, either because they are not aware that securing a TV is an important safety measure, or they have concerns about damaging the wall or installing the TV incorrectly.
What can parents do to ensure that their children stay safe?
* Check your TV. Assess the stability of the TVs in your home. Remember, a curious, determined child can topple a TV. Children playing with friends or pets could knock a TV over, while other kids might be tempted to climb up to reach items placed on or near a TV, such as remote controls or candy.
* Secure your TV. Securing your TV to the wall is a safe solution. Much like child-proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, TV mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your family safe.
“You wouldn’t think to bring a baby home from the hospital without a car seat, or have your child ride a bike without a helmet,” says Carr. “Mounting your TV will protect your TV, and most important, your child.”
To learn more, visit www.safekids.org.