'Alarming' Rise in Children Injured By Falling TVs

Head and neck injuries, including concussions, are most common

By Lindsey Tanner
|  Monday, Jul 22, 2013  |  Updated 10:04 AM CDT
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Falling televisions sent nearly 200,000 U.S. children to the emergency room over 20 years, and the injury rate has climbed substantially for these sometimes deadly accidents, a study by Illinois-based American Academy of Pediatrics found.

Doctors and safety experts say better awareness is needed about the dangers — especially the risks of putting heavier, older model TV sets on top of dressers and other furniture young children may try to climb on.

Most injuries are in kids under 5; head and neck injuries, including concussions, are the most common.

"This is a problem that is increasing at an alarming rate," said lead author Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatric emergency specialist and president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance.

Smith said it is unclear from the data what type of TV sets are involved in the accidents or whether older, heavier models are the most common culprit.

The study was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In 2011, 12,300 children nationwide got emergency room treatment for TV-related injuries, compared with 5,455 in 1990. The injury rate nearly doubled, from 0.85 injuries per 10,000 children aged 17 and younger in 1990 to 1.66 per 10,000 in 2011, the study found.

The researchers examined national data on non-fatal television-related injuries to kids from 1990-2011.

Over those two decades, 215 children died from these injuries, government data show, and news reports indicate that since January 2012, at least six young children have been killed nationwide by falling TVs.

Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the government's Consumer Product Safety Commission, said as flat-screen TVs have become more popular, many families move heavier old TVs to bedrooms, placing them on dressers or other unsteady furniture not designed to hold them.

In November 2011, 3-year-old Shaniya Singleton died after a tube TV fell on her in her family's Chicago home. On Oct. 30, 2011, 6-year-old Karl Clermont died when a TV fell on his head at his home in Arlington Heights. Both deaths were ruled accidents.

Experts said the incidents could be prevented by strapping or bolting television sets to the wall or their television stands.
 

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