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Child deaths from falling TVs are all too common. What can we do?

In the past two weeks, two Chicago children were killed by falling televisions.  While playing on November 8, three year old Shaniya Singleton ran into a TV on a low stand.  The 27-inch TV fell on the child, killing her.  On October 30, six year old Karl Clermont died after a 36-inch television fell on him in his home.  Both deaths were investigated as accidental.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that, from 2000 to 2010, 169 children aged eight or younger were killed by falling TVs.  Furthermore, 19,200 people (adults and children included) were treated at emergency rooms for injuries from falling TVs.  Small children are particularly vulnerable to serious injury and death from TV tip-overs.

These injuries can occur in several ways.  Children may climb the furniture supporting a TV, causing the TV and furniture to tip over.  TVs mounted to walls, such as thinner flat-panel TVs, can crash down.  TVs with poor weight distribution can tip over on their own when placed on unsturdy furniture.

There are a number of steps parents can take to reduce the risk of injury from falling TVs.  CPSC has made several recommendations:

  • Push TVs as far back as they can go on their stands.
  • Check the stand or underlying furniture to ensure its stability.  Don’t place TVs on flimsy shelves.
  • TV stands should be low, wide, and sturdy.
  • Secure TVs and supporting furniture with an anchor.  The anchor should attach to a wall.  Anchor straps can be purchased online and in some hardware stores.
  • Do not keep items, such as toys or remotes, on top of the TV.  Children may be tempted to climb furniture to retrieve something from atop a television.
  • Store old, out-of-use TVs in safe locations.

Most importantly, parents should never take for granted a piece of furniture’s stability.  Lack of awareness on tip-over risks creates a serious hidden danger in the home.  Because the issue isn’t as publicized as other household dangers, parents may not know to include these steps when childproofing their homes.  Fortunately, taking these simple precautions can reduce the risk of injury to children and adults alike.

Entry Filed under: Products Liability

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