Child Safety

Growing Safety Concern: Falling flat-screen TVs

A new find study finds that our need for bigger flat-panel televisions and entertainment centers are now more narrow and less-stables has caused furniture related children accidents to increase by 41 percent.

In 2007, nearly 17,000 children were rushed to emergency rooms after heavy or unstable furniture fell over on them, a new study reported this month. The study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that the such injuries had risen 41 percent since 1990.

Injuries from televisions alone accounted for nearly half of all injuries related to falling furniture during the study period — 47 percent.

Three-quarters of the victims of falling furniture are younger than 6 years old, and children that age “simply don’t recognize the danger of climbing on furniture,” said Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

That makes it imperative that parents take steps to secure flat-panel TVs, which have narrow centers of gravity, and other top-heavy pieces, said Yvonne Holguin-Duran, a child safety specialist with University Health System in San Antonio, Texas.

“If we just take one glance around our house, [parents can] see what safety dangers on their level these children can get into,” Holguin-Duran said.

Like many other childhood bumps and bruises, most of the injuries related to falling furniture were minor. But 3 percent of the 264,200 children whose cases were reviewed from 1990 to 2007 were injured seriously enough to require hospital admission — most of them for head and neck injuries — and about 300 of them died.

Gary Smith offers a “few simple prevention steps” dramatically reduces the likelihood of injury:

  • Place television sets low to the ground and near the backs of their stands.
  • Strap televisions and other large furniture to the wall with safety straps or L-brackets.
  • Buy furniture with wide legs or with solid bases.
  • Install drawer stops on chests of drawers and place heavy items close to the floor on shelves.
  • Eliminate kids’ impulse to climb by remembering not to place items like toys or the remote control on top of furniture or the television.
  • Always keep tabs on where your kids are and what they’re doing.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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