College and professional football season prompts many fans to upgrade their televisions. Where viewing is concerned, bigger is better. But bigger can also be more dangerous, with larger TVs creating unanticipated hazards at home.
More than 17,000 children – one every 30 minutes – are treated in emergency rooms across the country for TV-related injuries every year, and the rate of children being hurt from televisions tipping over has nearly doubled in two decades, according to a 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When families purchase new televisions, they often move their older, bulkier sets to other rooms and place them on bookcases, dressers or small tables that were not intended for televisions. That creates instability. Older cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions are front-heavy, making them more prone to tip over.
To help keep your family safe:
- make sure the new television is anchored
- ensure older televisions are anchored or placed on sturdy surfaces
Up to 12,700 pounds of force strikes a child when an l unanchored CRT television (screen size 19-32 inches) topples off furniture, based on a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission test. About 2,100 pounds of force strikes a child when a flat screen television in the same size range falls. This is the equivalent of 10 times the force of two NFL linemen colliding at full speed.
The CPSC examined 51 deaths from 2010 to 2012 involving television tipovers and found:
- 88 percent were children under 4 years old
- 60 percent involved either 27- or 32-inch televisions
CPSC estimates that emergency rooms treated 9,800 TV tipover injuries to children younger than 9 each year between 2011 and 2013. Children under 3 accounted for most of the injuries.
On its Anchorit.gov website, CPSC offers these tips to prevent injuries from falling televisions:
- Place the TV on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
- Secure the TV to the furniture with straps, brackets or braces to prevent the TV from sliding.
- Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a secure fit.
- Place any large, heavy CRT TV on a low, stable piece of furniture. If you no longer use your CRT TV, consider recycling it.
- Secure top-heavy furniture to the wall with brackets, braces or wall straps.
- Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach and teach children not to play with them.
- Remove items from the top of the TV and furniture that might tempt kids to climb, for example, tablet computers, toys and remote controls.
Maximize your family time and minimize time in the emergency room by making sure TVs are anchored and stable.