Do you have a flat screen TV? Is mounted on the wall or sitting on top of a dresser? Your child’s safety could depend on it. New research finds that every three weeks, another child dies from a TV tipping over onto them. The rate of injury is on the rise. Over the last 22 years, the rate of children getting injured from a falling TV is up 95 percent. Children under the age of five are most susceptible, accounting for 64.3 percent of injured patients, which has increased 125.5 percent over the study period.
Neck and head injuries are the most common injuries resulting from a TV falling or being struck (63.3 percent of injuries) followed by injuries of the lower extremities (21.5 percent).
What can you do to help protect your children? Never assume that a large TV is out of reach of young children. Also, understand that dressers, bookcases and entertainment centers can become top-heavy and fall over if not mounted to the wall. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these tips to help ensure your children are safe around TVs in the home:
• Make sure that your furniture is stable.
• Install an anchor on all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving, and dressers. Attach the anchor to the wall or floor.
• Place televisions on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
• Push the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand.
• Remove items such as toys and remote controls from the top of the TV and furniture. These items may tempt children to climb.
• Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach and teach children not to play with the cords.
While TVs are getting lighter, they are also getting larger, causing them to be less stable when simply placed on top of furniture. Look for TV safety straps at your local electronics store or online. Many products are easy to install and out of view behind the TV set.