Media Contact: Keith.O’Connor@baystatehealth.org, 413-794-7656
SPRINGFIELD – As more Americans are bringing home new, large screen televisions to enjoy in the comfort of their own home, there is something they need to remember along with the joy that comes with their new prized possession.
A child dies every three weeks from a television tipping over.
A new report released recently by Safe Kids Worldwide and SANUS revealed the dire news along with the fact that nearly 13,000 more children are injured each year in the U.S. This represents a 31 percent increase in television tip-over related injuries over the last 10 years.
“Every 45 minutes, or less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child visits the ER because of a television tipping over,” said Mandi Summers, co-coordinator, Western Mass. Safe Kids Coalition headquartered at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
The results of the report, A Report to the Nation on Home Safety: The Dangers of TV Tip-Overs, include data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and new findings from Safe Kids Worldwide primary research.
The report shows that young children are at greatest risk of television tip-overs. According to the research, 7 out of 10 children injured by tip-overs are five years old or younger. This age group also accounts for 9 out of 10 serious injuries requiring hospitalization, including head injuries, which are among the most severe.
Many television tip-overs are a result of unsteady TVs that are not secured to the wall. Flat screen televisions 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 television to the wall. Most families are unaware that securing a television is an important safety measure. Others decide not to mount their units because of concerns about damaging the wall or installing the television incorrectly.
“You wouldn’t think of bringing a baby home from the hospital without a car seat or have your child ride a bike without a helmet,” said Dr. Ronald Gross, chief, Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services at Baystate Medical Center. “Similarly, securing your television will go a long way in protecting your family.”
While Dr. Gross said he has seen kids with “crushing” injuries from television tip-overs in Baystate Medical Center’s Emergency & Trauma Center, he hasn’t seen any deaths.
The Western Mass. Safe Kids Coalition and Dr. Gross are calling on families to conduct a quick television safety check, which includes the following steps:
• Check Your TV. Assess the stability of the televisions in your home. Remember, a curious, determined child can topple a television. Children playing with friends or pets could knock it over, while other kids might be tempted to climb up to reach items placed on or near a television, such as remote controls or candy.
• Secure Your TV. Securing your television to the wall is a safe solution. Much like child proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, TV mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your family safe.
For more information on Safe Kids, visit safekids.org, or to learn more about Baystate Children’s Hospital, visit baystatehealth.org/bch.