Between Christmas gift giving and Super Bowl viewing prep, December and January are biggies for buying super-sized TV sets. But these jumbo flat-screens present an eye-opening danger.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a trend with the TV tip overs. The TV’s nowadays, people are getting the flat screen TVs and they’re not as sturdy so children are able to knock them over much easier,” says Sally Kreuscher, child advocate with Golisano Children’s Hospital.
The number of kids injured by a falling TV grew 125% between 1990 and 2011 according to ER records. Toppling TVs send a child to the hospital in the U.S. on average every 30 minutes. Most at risk are children five and under.
“They don’t understand the consequence of pulling on the top of a tall object and most of those things are very, very heavy and once they start toppling, there’s no stopping them. Especially if you weigh less than the TV does,” says Dr. Eric Jones, pediatrician on the medical staff of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
The increase in injuries, even deaths, result from a combination of more TVs in the home, bigger TVs and older TVs that are kept on dressers and shelves which aren’t designed to hold them. Experts say these accidents are preventable.
“You want to look at things from a small person’s perspective. If something can wiggle, you want to make sure it’s tacked down. Most new furnishings can become mounted and it keeps things from tipping,” says Dr. Jones.
The Safe Kids initiative suggests you mount flat screens to the wall, keep old-style TVs on low, stable furniture and use brackets, braces or wall straps whenever possible. And remember, when it comes to the television, young children may try to get in on the action.
“Kids are curious,” says Kreuscher.