While the content of some television shows may seem harmful to the children who watch them, actual TVs falling on top of children can be downright deadly. A new analysis of TV-related injuries, published in Pediatrics last month, reveals the extent of the problem:
During the 2010–2011 TV season, children aged 2 through 11 watched nearly 26 hours of TV weekly. The frequent exposure to TVs presents opportunities for children to sustain TV-related injury. Between 2000 and 2011, 215 children died of injuries sustained from a falling TV.
(The emphasis above is mine, although 26 hours per week of TV watching is also mind-numbing.)
More than 17,000 children receive emergency treatment of a TV-related injury in the US annually, which equals 1 child every 30 minutes.
Over the last few years, flat panel televisions have all but replaced the older cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs. Flat panels are 82% lighter and much less bulky than CRT’s, which makes them more likely to tip over. Also, once displaced to another location in the house by a new flat panel TV, a CRT may find itself propped on a table that is not designed for its shape and heaviness, making tip-overs of them more likely as well.
The authors advise these preventive measures:
Prevention strategies include public education, provision of TV anchoring devices at the point of sale of TVs, TV anchoring device distribution programs, strengthening of standards for TV stability, and redesign of TVs to improve stability.
I would advise parents to take a few minutes and really assess the location and stability of each TV in the home. If you think there might be a danger of your child pulling the TV down on top of themselves, then either remove the TV or stabilize it to diminish the risk.