Toppling TVs can cause severe head and neck injuries, sometimes fatal, in small children, especially toddlers, a new study shows.
According to Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, the new study, published on Tuesday, September 29, showed that injuries to toddlers from toppling TVs has become more frequent over the last decade. Study author Dr. Michael Cusimano of the neurosurgery department at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto said the injuries can be severe and sometimes even fatal, and will likely become more common as the size of the TVs increases and the prices drop to where they are more affordable for customers.
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— Maria Camille Arigo (@holacamilla) September 30, 2015
Cusimano and co-author Nadine Parker reviewed 29 studies from seven different countries that focused on television related head and neck injuries, CBC News reports. What they found was startling. Toddlers, ages one to three years old, were the most likely to suffer head and neck injuries, and the TV toppling typically occurred as a young child was climbing on some piece of furniture to reach and toy and bumped the television base.
Because televisions are typically placed on surfaces such as dressers one to five feet off of the ground, they may not be safely secured to the wall, making them easy to push over. Also, many of the larger televisions (median size 27 inches) do not have a very supportive base. According to the study, 84 percent of the injuries occurred in the toddler’s homes and more than three-fourths were not witnessed by their adult caregivers. Almost all deaths reported (96 percent) were due to brain injuries.
Per the study:
“Newer televisions, such as wide-screen plasma TVs, are heavy and are often not well fixed to a stable base. A typical 36-inch-wide TV falling just 1 m creates the momentum equivalent to a 1-year-old child weighing 10 kg falling from 10 stories.”
Toppling TVs is ranked third in the top five hidden home hazards in the United States. The statistics are shocking, showing that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported 19,200 injuries between 2008 and 2010, up from 16,500 from 2006 to 2008.
“Television-toppling injuries can be easily prevented; however, the rates of injuries do not reflect a sufficient level of awareness, nor do they reflect an acceptable effort from an injury prevention perspective.”
There are many ways to avoid a toppling TV injury or fatality. The authors provide several tips on how to keep a toddler from the television set. First, avoid placing the remote or the child’s toy on top of the television. This will keep them from trying to climb up to reach the item. Correctly read the instructions on how to properly install a wall mount for the television. If the TV is not mounted, make sure it is not placed near the edge of the surface where it could easily fall.
— Clippasafe (@Clippasafe) September 29, 2015
This isn’t the first study to examine toppling TVs and the injuries children sustain from them. In 2012, a report by Safe Kids Worldwide stated that in the last 10 years, the number of child deaths due to falling TVs had risen 31 percent.
“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.,” the report stated.
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