The Associated Press reports that, even though many consumers are replacing heavy televisions with lighter flat-screen TVs, the number of children getting injured or killed by falling televisions continues to rise. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 80 of the 180 furniture-related child deaths between 2000 and 2006 involved televisions, and that number has been rising over the years.
Some experts believed that lighter, flat-screen TVs would lead to fewer injuries, but that has not been the case. Perhaps the number of injuries is increasing because more people hanging TVs on walls and placing them in unsafe places where they may not be totally secure.
In 2006 alone, 16,300 children ages 5 and under were treated in emergency rooms due to injuries associated with televisions, furniture, and appliance falls and tip-overs.
“Many parents are unaware of the deadly danger of this hidden hazard,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “I urge parents to include securing TVs, furniture, and appliances in their childproofing efforts. Taking a few moments now can prevent a tip-over tragedy later.”
Many parents focus on ground-level hazards when childproofing their homes. But parents must also watch out for higher hazards, such as television on walls or appliances on top of bookcases. For instance, a speaker sitting on top of a bookcase could fall off due to sound vibrations.
“You may think your home is safe, but everyday things like a television can hurt your child. I was right there and it happened,” said Sylvia Santiago who lost her 2-year-old daughter in 2008.
Most injuries of this nature occur when children climb onto or fall against television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and appliances. A television placed on top of a piece of furniture or on top of a rickety stand may tip over onto a child and cause fatal injuries.
“The most devastating injuries that we see resulting from furniture tipping on children are injuries to the brain and when a child is trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and suffocates,” said Dr. Gary Smith of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The CPSC offers the following tips to prevent television falls and other furniture tip-over injuries among children:
Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
Push the TV as far back as possible.
Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.
Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
Of course, some of these child injuries are caused by defective products or negligence on the part of a property owner. If your child has suffered such a personal injury, contact a Georgia accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.