It’s a great time to buy a television as evidenced by the number of shopping carts filled with flat screened TVs. Televisions have become so inexpensive consumers can now buy one for a fraction of what it cost just a few years ago. But the light-weight big screens are becoming a household hazard to children.
According to a recent report, every three weeks a child dies from a television tipping over and nearly 13,000 more children are injured each year in the U.S. This represents a 31 percent increase in TV tip-over-related injuries over the last ten years.
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. According to the CPSC, from 2000-2010, on average, a child dies every three weeks.
The report shows that young children are at greatest risk of TV tip-overs. According to the research, seven out of ten children injured by TV tip-overs are five years old or younger. This age group also accounts for nine out of ten serious injuries requiring hospitalization, including head injuries, which are among the most severe.
Many TV tip-overs are a result of unsteady TVs that are not secured to the wall. Flat screen TVs that are top-heavy with narrow bases can be easily pulled off an entertainment center or table. 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.
The report also revealed that three out of four parents don’t secure their TV to the wall. Most families are unaware that securing a TV is an important safety measure. Others decide not to mount their TVs because of concerns about damaging the wall or installing the TV incorrectly.
Remember to assess the stability of the televisions in your home. 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. Securing your television to the wall is a safe solution. Much like child proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, television mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your family safe.