Prevent TV tip-overs, for sake of kids

Many families will be gathered around the television this Sunday to watch the biggest professional football game of the year. Safe Kids Worldwide has named Saturday, Jan. 31, as National TV Safety Day.

It’s all to raise awareness about TV tip-overs and to educate parents and caregivers on the simple things they can do to make their homes safer.

Once every 45 minutes, a child is rushed to the emergency department somewhere in the country for injuries suffered when a television toppled. “The size of television most people have in their living room can weigh 50 to 100 pounds or more,” says Lisa Schwing, RN, trauma program manager at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “Most children younger than 10 don’t even weigh that much and they are the ones most likely to be hurt by a falling TV.” In fact, the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 84 percent of the deaths from falling televisions, appliances and furniture since 2000 were children younger than ten.

The damage caused when a TV falls on a child can be devastating. “The weight of the TV can crush a child’s skull and the impact can do severe internal damage to the body, as well,” says Schwing. “Even if the impact does not cause fatal damage, often the child cannot get out from under the fallen television. If mom or dad isn’t right there, the child can suffocate under the pressure.”

Many tip-overs are a result of unsteady TVs that are not secured to the wall. A curious, determined child can easily topple a TV. “The most common problem is a TV being bumped off a table or stand, normally by a child simply trying to turn it on,” says Schwing. Children playing with friends or pets could knock a TV over, too, while other kids might be tempted to climb up to reach items placed on or near a TV, such as remote controls or candy.

Thankfully, there are easy ways to make sure your televisions are secure. “The best way to prevent tragedy from a falling TV is to anchor it to the wall,” says Schwing. “Some televisions come with the kits or you can buy a wall-mounting kit. There are also kits available at any hardware or baby store to tether a table-top television to the wall for security.”

After every television is securely fastened to the wall, you can also make sure cables and cords are tucked away and out of reach of children. “Teach your children to not climb on furniture and remove any items from TV stands or tall furniture that might be too much of a temptation for them to pass up,” says Schwing. “You can also attach all appliances and tall, heavy furniture to the wall as well, such as bookcases, dressers, refrigerators and stoves.”

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital.