Toppling TVs still a problem despite increase in flat screen purchases

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Christmas brought flat screen TVs into many homes, so now is a good time to address what has become a growing hazard: TVs toppling onto young children.

Even as more families buy lighter, flat screen TVs, scientists at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio and advocates at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have seen a rise in the number of children injured or killed by falling televisions.

That sounds counterintuitive, until you enter a children's playroom, where the old, heavy TV has been precariously placed on other furniture.

"What I hear the most is that ‘I turned my back for just a moment and I heard a crash,'" says Dr. Charles Pruitt, a physician of pediatric emergency medicine at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Emergency room doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center see it too often: children, typically under age 5, pulling on the furniture, or trying to climb up it, end up knocking the television right on top of them.

"Injuries can be very serious. They often involve head injuries from the trauma of the furniture -- the TV itself falling on the child," Pruitt says.

The other part of the equation is even flat screens are heavy enough to hurt children, if left on a free-standing pedestal.

To Stay Safe, Pruitt and other advocates recommend:

  • Secure a TV to the wall or secure the base
  • Tie up TV cords
  • Don't keep the remote or other things children might want on top of the TV

"Really, the key to preventing these injuries is supervision," Pruitt says. "Just keep a close eye on your children."

There is proposed legislation in Congress that would require TVs and furniture to come with anchors so families would be more likely to secure them.


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Nadine Wimmer


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