Falling Televisions Send a Child to Emergency Room Every 30 Minutes, Study Finds

Researchers urge more safety measures to prevent falling televisions.

July 22, 2013, 12:36 PM
PHOTO:  children TV-related injury
A study in the Aug. 2013 issue of Pediatrics found that more than 17,000 children are treated in U.S. each year for a TV-related injury, which is about one child every 30 minutes.
Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

July 23, 2013— -- More than 17,000 children are treated annually for television-related injuries, sending one child to the emergency room every half hour, according to a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

With flat-screen televisions replacing the bulky counterparts of the past, the number of children injured from televisions tipping over has nearly doubled in the past two decades, according to the study.

"Lighter weights coupled with a less bulky design may make flat panels more easily tipped than CRTs (cathode ray tube) and may be contributing to the observed increase in the rate of injuries associated with falling TVs," the authors of the study wrote.

With more than half of U.S. households owning three or more televisions, researchers also speculated that the location of televisions within the home could be responsible for the rising rate of injuries.

"Older TVs may be relegated to less-safe locations in the home, such as on dressers or other unsuitable furniture," the study said.

Among the most common injuries sustained from televisions were lacerations, concussions and soft tissue injuries, according to the study, while children younger than 5 years old, particularly boys, were the most likely to be injured.

Nearly half of the injuries -- 46 percent -- were from a television sliding off a dresser, while 31 percent were from a television falling off an entertainment center or TV stand, the study found.

In order to combat the rising number of injuries, researchers recommended parents secure their televisions in order to prevent children from tipping them over.

Parents are also advised to not put remote controls or toys on top of televisions or the furniture they sit on, in order to make sure children aren't tempted to climb on them.

The results of the study came just one week after a 3-year-old San Antonio, Texas, boy was fatally injured when a television sitting on a dresser fell on him. He was airlifted to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead one hour after the incident.

In June, a 4-year-old Oregon boy was critically injured when a 36-inch television set fell on him, rendering him temporarily unconscious, ABC News' Portland, Oregon, affiliate KATU-TV reported.