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More children being injured by toppling TVs
July 22nd, 2013
05:19 PM ET

More children being injured by toppling TVs

Of all the dangers you've imagined your child facing, a falling TV probably didn't make the top of the list. But a new study shows parents may need to pay more attention to their flatscreen safety.

An average of 17,000 children come to the hospital with TV-related injuries each year, according to the study, which published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers looked at emergency room data between 1990 and 2011.

"Although the overall rate of TV-related injuries stayed fairly constant, the rate of injury associated with a falling TV almost doubled during the study period," the study authors concluded.

In many of these cases, the TVs were placed on lightweight furniture or were improperly anchored to the wall, says lead study author Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatric emergency specialist and president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance in Columbus, Ohio.

"Many parents are unaware of the potential danger that a TV presents if it’s not appropriately secured,” he said.

The study

The researchers looked at 22 years of national representative data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

This includes data from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 2011, regarding children under 18 years of age who were hospitalized in the emergency department.

Some of the factors in the data include the location of the injury, description from the emergency department, and the kind of TV involved. A short narrative of the circumstances of the incident, as well as age and gender of the victim, was recorded as well.

The results

The most common injuries were head and neck wounds, including concussions, according to the study. Almost 36% of the injuries were lacerations, and 35% were soft tissue injuries.

More than 50% of the annual injury cases were caused by a falling TV; 38% were caused by a patient striking a TV.

The age group most affected by TV-related injuries was children under 5.

What you can do

These injuries are preventable with the right precautions, Smith said.

“Parents need to take the proper action with both anchoring the TV and the furniture. There are low-cost, easy to install devices that parents can purchase, and do-it-yourself activities that are not difficult to do,” said Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The study authors recommend that TV anchoring devices be made available when people purchase their TVs. They also recommend establishing anchoring device distribution programs, strengthening standards for TV stability and redesigning TVs to improve stability.


soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. marmotking

    When are we going to ban these Assault TVs. Nobody needs that large of a TV for survival. If banning Assault TVs saves even one child's live, it's worth it.

    July 22, 2013 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Uncle Jerry

      Wow, still beating that tired old drum?

      July 22, 2013 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • kzooresident

      Isn't it perplexing how the anti-gun obsessives get so uptight when you throw their failed logic back up in their face?

      July 22, 2013 at 23:37 | Report abuse |
    • Ruppert

      Yep. And, nobody needs a 52" TV. Heck, nobody even needs a 35" TV. We all would do fine with a 19" TV. And, nobody needs 200 channels. Heck, Grandpa did fine with 3 channels back in 1960.

      July 23, 2013 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
    • jdubski

      "tv related injury" – 2yr old throws bottle at tv during game. Father throws 2yr old thru same tv. Mother wakes up.
      Father: "tv must have fell, we need to go to hospital NOW!"
      moral of story: don't be mad, Dad. You get an excuse to buy a bigger, BETTER TV!!"

      July 23, 2013 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      We had a large 40 inch CRT flat screen tv that weighed in at over 350 lbs. I had it on a very sturdy piece of furniture, but after one close call, hauled it off to storage. Those things can squash just about anyone...not just kids.

      July 23, 2013 at 07:56 | Report abuse |
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      July 28, 2013 at 10:14 | Report abuse |
  2. bmw745li

    Interesting how these organizations are trying to put an end to natural selection. They are anti-science - more specifically anti-Darwin.

    July 22, 2013 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • marsilius

      False; false; false. These organizaations aren't trying to put an end to natural selection, and they aren't anti-Darwin, or anti-science. You obviously don't understand either natural selection, Darwin, or science.

      July 23, 2013 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
  3. trev

    what other forms of injuries stem from TV's? I thought a falling TV was the only one.

    July 22, 2013 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shane

      Hitting a TV or falling into one.

      July 23, 2013 at 02:14 | Report abuse |
    • Thinking things through

      Electrocution?

      August 5, 2013 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  4. cali girl

    The flat screens should be bolted to walls higher that the tots. These parents must be low on common sense.

    July 22, 2013 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bitgod79

      They are, I know a few parents who rather TEXT and have sexual relations than pay attention to their kids.

      July 22, 2013 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
    • Brian P

      A flat screen LCD TV isn't going to hurt anyone. They only weigh about 30-40 lbs for a 50". If it was a CRT TV, then yes. They can weigh over 100 lbs.

      July 23, 2013 at 01:54 | Report abuse |
    • Writer Eva

      To Brian P. – As an adult at well over 100 lbs., I would be in pain if 30 – 40 lbs. fell over on me! But if, like a baby, my total body weight were only half the weight of an LCD TV, I'd be hurt even worse!

      July 23, 2013 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
  5. Donnie the Lion

    No excuse for this. Flat screen TVs come with an area for securing a strap to the nearest wall to prevent exactly that situation from occuring.

    July 22, 2013 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. marmotking

    The real problems is not the owners, but the TVs. All Assault TVs should be banned. At the vary least you'd think responsible Assault TV owners would keep their TVs locked in a TV safe until they need to use them. One should never leave any TV, but especially an Assault TV lying around the house where a curious child might hurt themselves with it. Banning Assault TVs is just common sense.

    July 22, 2013 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Yeah, wasn't really clever the first time.

      July 22, 2013 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
    • marmotking

      John, Clearly you're making light of this issue. "An average of 17,000 children come to the hospital with TV-related injuries each year." I don't find that very funny. Why do you think you anyone needs a TV with such destructive power.

      July 22, 2013 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • DAT

      John, you're feeding the troll.

      July 22, 2013 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • kzooresident

      Keep going. It's fun to watch them try to spin the context of their argument into how things they don't like should be banned while using the same logic in other situations is suddenly "stupid".

      July 22, 2013 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
    • Ruppert

      Good one. I love it. Wonder if the typically slow libs will get it?

      July 23, 2013 at 00:36 | Report abuse |
    • bam

      "Many parents are unaware of the potential danger that a TV presents if it’s not appropriately secured,” he said.
      yeah cuz that there doesnt already imply these mor rons must be the same ones allowing kids open access to their loaded guns

      July 23, 2013 at 00:45 | Report abuse |
    • dt

      You know I'd like to think you're making light of the issue, but I wouldn't put it past some of our legislators to have a law about securing your TV.....

      July 23, 2013 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      You are going to have to pry my flat screen TV out of my cold dead fingers...well the remote anyway...

      July 24, 2013 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  7. Pow and Whammy

    "38% were caused by a patient striking a TV." Don't get too emotionally involved with the programing. It's just an image- it's
    not really Nancy Grace or Dr. Phil in your living room.

    July 22, 2013 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Logic

      Those shows need to run a disclaimer...Viewer discretion...Not responsible for content that causes you to destroy your TV!

      July 24, 2013 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
  8. centerextremist

    Kids are finally getting the picture.

    July 22, 2013 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • zd

      Worst pun ever!

      July 23, 2013 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
  9. a slozomby

    An average of 17,000 children come to the hospital with TV-related injuries each year,

    think of the children. ban tv's

    July 22, 2013 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. a slozomby

    how come the child is white. is cnn trying to tell us a black baby cant have a tv?

    July 22, 2013 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teri

      They are still making their Rent-A-Center payment on that tv from 1976. No new tv for them!

      July 22, 2013 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
    • Ruppert

      Yeah, you guessed it.

      July 23, 2013 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
    • bam

      that comment would almost work cept for the fact the white kid is in a jail outfit...

      July 23, 2013 at 00:44 | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    See TV is bad for children...

    July 22, 2013 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Craig

    The problem is obvious. In the old days, with TV's that had CRT, the things were so heavy, with some weight at the back, that they were much harder to pull over from the front. They also didn't typically have any "edge" that a child could grasp. The newer flat screens, while lighter overall, don't have any weight at the back, so they're more or less just balancing on the base...which may be pretty small. In some cases, people just set them on the top of a bookcase or shelf and then lean them back against the wall. A slight push at the bottom can bring them over, or if it's sitting up on a base, there is now an edge at the bottom...a couple inches above the base...that a child can grasp. The problem is obvious, and it's not the fault of the TV. Parenting 101 covers stuff like "don't put things at child level if they're not secure. DOH!

    July 22, 2013 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michele Davis

      CRT televisions are front-heavy.

      August 1, 2013 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
  13. bam

    "Many parents are unaware of the potential danger that a TV presents if it’s not appropriately secured,” he said.

    REALLY???? these must be the same people that allow kids access to their loaded guns

    July 23, 2013 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jerry

      No, I think you'll find it's the really stupid people – the liberals........

      July 23, 2013 at 01:41 | Report abuse |
  14. marshwpg

    My song about falling tvs and more... on youtube (search The Jones Jive)

    July 23, 2013 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. trollol

    This is darwinism at work!

    July 23, 2013 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SPW

    THINK OF THE PLASMA

    I don't want your little twerps pulling my down down on them, control your kids better

    July 23, 2013 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. SixDegrees

    Unmentioned in the recommendations is the common sense approach: don't let your kids watch television unattended. The TV isn't an electronic babysitter. Taking care of your kids is YOUR job, and plunking them down in front of the box while you wander off to do something else is shabby behavior. I'd guess that around 80% of the injuries cited wouldn't have happened if a parent had actually been present.

    July 23, 2013 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. pointwhatsyours

    I don't like when statistics and yearly averages are given without a country or world region specified: "An average of 17,000 children come to the hospital with TV-related injuries each year." Are we to always assume that unspecified numbers such as these are extracted from the USA? Hello, the internet is global, start writing articles with this new reality in mind.

    July 23, 2013 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Given that the study was conducted by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, whose charter extends only to US products and consumers, it doesn't take too much effort to conclude the these are US incidents.

      July 23, 2013 at 07:32 | Report abuse |
    • pointwhatsyours

      Right, I get it. However, why should anyone need to extend any effort at all in order to quickly assess in what light the numbers should be understood? There is an unconscious tradition in many media outlets in many countries of referencing research-based stats without transparent and in our case immediate reference to specific populations. Moreover I wish articles from global news sources like CNN would treat ALL of their information through a global understanding, and not write specifically for Americans but for a global readership. In fact there is no reference in the article itself that the study was conducted in the US, that is, without prior knowledge of what country the "Consumer Product Safety Commission" or "National Electronic Injury Surveillance System" are operational. As a casual global reader, and because this knowledge is fuzzy at best, it makes the article that more irrelevant. And even if the employment base of "Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatric emergency specialist and president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance in Columbus, Ohio" is known, it is not clear what population he studies, i.e. Western, global, US, North American, in Ohio, etc? For Ohio is the only reference to any place in this article whose rhetorical clout leans heavily on "National" research from some unknown place.

      July 23, 2013 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      The study was done by three grad students or employees of Ohio State University and related facilities in Columbus OH. It was accepted by the Magazine "Pediatrics" for publication and the studies conclusions has nothing to do with NIH in the US. The information used was from 1990 – 2011 and was taken from data maintained by the consumer products safety commission. And covered ER admissions of "kids" < 18 years of age?

      July 23, 2013 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
  19. Kansan52

    Before calling for restraints on TVs, look in the boxes and at the instructions. Most already have anti-tip remedies.

    July 23, 2013 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Portland tony

    What a stupid study..... No one mentioned if they were injured by a 100 lb old tube type TV or a 15-20 lb flat screen that a kid could climb on.A good number of flat screens can be wall mounted well away from grasping 5 year old's hands. Study had data from 1990? (no flat screens). I know plenty of kids get hurt falling off chairs, some are hurt trying to reach the goodie shelf in the kitchen, some fall out of trees, some tumble on the grass and so on. Whoever funds these studies, hopeful got their money's worth.

    July 23, 2013 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. gager

    In the movie "The Ring" a kid came out of a tv and caused injuries.

    July 23, 2013 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Frank

    Believe me, the emotional damage inflicted on millions upon millions who spend a significant chunk of their lives simply watching TV far outweighs even 17K poor kids who get physically hurt.

    We can only hope the experience teaches those kids to avoid television at all costs.

    July 23, 2013 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
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