Child Injuries, Sometimes Fatal, Increasing from Tipped Over and Falling TVs

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The number of children injured by a TV falling increased 125 percent between 1990 and 2011, according to a new study of emergency room records reviewed by the The Journal of Pediatrics and published today in the medical journal Pediatrics. Overall, more than 17,313 children under age 18 were treated each year for various TV-related injuries in ERs across the United States – that’s an average of one child every half hour during that time period, the study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics found.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, children under age 18 years treated in United States hospital emergency departments for injuries associated with a TV from 1990 through 2011 were investigated. Analysis of the data showed an increase of 344.1 percent in the number associated with a TV falling from a dresser/bureau/chest of drawers/armoire during 1995–2011.

Although experts expected the introduction of flat panel displays would decrease the number of injuries, the rate of pediatric injuries caused by falling TVs is increasing. The authors of the study emphasized the need for increased prevention efforts. 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.

Many older model televisions require secured strapping at the back of the top-heavy television sets. When these televisions are sold pre-owned or second hand, the manual with warnings of the importance of securing the television are often not included. Older tube models can weigh more than 300 pounds, and pose a high risk for fatal injuries to children.

On October 30, 2011 about 8:45 p.m., Karl Clermont, 6, was found underneath a TV in his basement in the 1700 block of Portsmith Lane in Arlington Heights with severe head injuries and died shortly after he was rushed to the hospital. The television was an older, heavier model.

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Pediatrics Television-Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1990–2011

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