Larger and Heavier TV Sets Represent Potential Danger

Beware of falling TV sets

Paediatricians at Children's Medical Center Dallas reviewed a year's worth of emergency department cases involving children injured by television sets toppling over, usually because of climbing toddlers or someone accidentally knocking over the TV.

"Our data indicated a lack of parental awareness and an absence of primary prevention as a root cause for this problem," said Dr. Floyd Ota, assistant professor of paediatrics at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. "If the television is not placed on a stable display area, or if the display area is not secured, the imbalanced weight distribution increases the potential for toppling forward," Ota explains.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 2,300 children annually visit emergency rooms for injuries due to falling TVs. The researchers reviewed 26 cases handled by the emergency department. The children injured by falling TVs ranged in age from one to seven years old.

Nine children were hospitalised, including two in the intensive care unit. Fourteen suffered head injuries and nine injured an arm or leg. More than one-third of cases were admitted to the hospital for stays ranging from one to four days, while the rest were treated and discharged. One case required surgery for a large facial cut.

Televisions with 20- to 30-inch screens were most commonly involved, making up 65 percent of cases. TVs 19 inches or smaller made up less than a fifth of the cases and screens of between 30 and 40 inches were about 16 percent of cases. Eighty-five percent of the TVs toppled were situated between two and five feet from the floor.

About three out of every four parents questioned said the child was or may have been climbing on the furniture when the accident occurred; the other quarter reported that the TV was knocked off the stand by another person. Parents reported witnessing the injuries in slightly less than half the cases.; Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center