Nearly every household in the United States owns at least one television, and many families may be unaware of the injury risks televisions pose to young children. A study in the August 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published online July 22), “Television-Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1990-2011,” found that more than 17,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency departments each year for a TV-related injury, equaling one child every 30 minutes. Injuries caused by falling TVs accounted for 12,300 injuries among children under age 18 in 2011, which was a 125% increase from the number in 1990. Almost half – 46 percent – occurred from a TV falling off a dresser or armoire, with another 31 percent falling from an entertainment center or TV stand. Children under age 5 represented 64.3 percent of all injured patients, and boys accounted for 60.8 percent of cases. The head/neck was the most common body region injured (63.3 percent), followed by the legs (21.5 percent). The authors conclude that with the increasing rate of injuries caused by falling TVs, additional important steps should be taken to keep children safe. Safety anchors or anti-tip devices should be provided with every television at the time of purchase and through distribution programs along with educational materials. Manufacturers should redesign TVs to improve stability, and parents should be advised not to put remote controls or toys on top of a TV, which can potentially result in a tip-over if a child tries to climb and reach them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.