TV Tip-Over Accidents Rising

COLUMBUS, OHIO: Mom wasn’t kidding when she said sitting close to the TV could be bad for your eyes. Of course she probably wasn’t thinking that the television set would fall on top of you. A recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that a high number of children are injured each year by TVs tipping over, and that the number has been increasing.

The study was published online by the medical journal Clinical Pediatrics. During the study period, 1990–2007, some 15,000 children younger than 18 years of age visited emergency rooms each year due to injuries received from furniture tip-overs. More than 300 children were killed by falling furniture during the study period. In February 2009, a six-year-old girl in El Monte, Calif., was killed by a falling television set.

More than one quarter of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture. For children under the age of seven, most of those injuries and emergency room visits came from falling televisions. Head and neck injuries were most common among younger children, while children older than nine years were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower body. Boys were more likely to suffer injuries than girls.

Although the hazard is not new — Consumer Reports issued a warning about television tip-overs in February 2007. The study authors found that the number of furniture, and particularly television, tip-overs is increasing.

To guard against tip-overs, the study authors recommend wall-mounting sets or attaching the set to the wall with safety straps or L-brackets. They also caution against placing “attractive items, such as toys or the remote control” on top of the TV set or furniture that might tip-over.

Since 2000, the Consumer Electronics Association has urged its members to include warning flyers with new TV sets to help alert consumers to the danger.
— T. Carter Ross