Television Injuries And Children: Increasing Popularity Of Flat-Screen TVs Leads To Rise In Emergency Room Visits, New Study Says

By Philip Ross on July 22, 2013 6:05 PM EDT

flat screen injuries
Television injuries involving children are on the rise, with the number of kids hurt by falling TVs doubling between 1990 and 2011. Researchers say the popularity of flat-screen televisions is partly responsible. (Photo: Reuters)

Television injuries involving children are on the rise, with the number of kids hurt by falling TVs doubling between 1990 and 2011. According to a new study aimed at investigating the prevalence of television-related injuries to U.S. children, TVs injure one child every 30 minutes. Researchers say the increasing popularity of flat-screen TVs, which tend to be lighter and more front-heavy than their older, boxier counterparts, is partly responsible for the increase in TV-related injuries.

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"The rate of pediatric injuries caused by falling TVs is increasing, which underscores the need for increased prevention efforts," the study notes. "Prevention strategies include public education, provision of TV anchoring devices at the point of sale of TVs, TV anchoring device distribution programs, strengthening of standards for TV stability, and redesign of TVs to improve stability."

According to the study, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, there were 5,455 TV-related injuries in 1990, and more than 12,300 television injuries in 2011. More than 380,880 pediatric paitents were treated in emergency rooms over the 22-year period, for an average of about 17,000 television injuries involving children a year. The most common injuries were lacerations and soft tissue injuries. Concussions and closed head injuries accounted for 13.3 percent of all television related injuries.

However, only 2.6 percent of patients involved in TV falling accidents received emergency room treatment.

USA Today reports that 46 percent of the overturned TVs in the study fell from a dresser or armoire; 31 percent toppled from an entertainment center or TV stand; and 8.8 percent fell off a table or nightstand.

"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," said the study.

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