Monday, July 22, 2013

Falling TVs Injuring Growing Number of Children

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Too much television is not healthy for children—in more ways than one.

Researchers have found that injuries to children related to television sets are on the rise, prompting medical professionals to call for stepped-up prevention efforts.

A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics followed television-related injuries over 22 years, using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The researchers counted 380,885 such injuries in the 22 year study period, with an estimated 17,313 injuries yearly. Most victims were younger than 5.

Although only 2.6 percent of the injuries called for admission to the hospital, researchers found a surprising uptick in TV-related injuries during the study period, equivalent to an overall rate increase of 95 percent.

The researchers found a whopping 344 percent increase in injuries attributed to televisions falling off furniture and onto a child. In all, 63 percent of children were injured on the head and neck, followed by injuries to the lower extremities—and head injuries, unsurprisingly, were more likely to result in a hospital visit.

Sometimes television injuries can even be deadly. Recently released research by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission counted 349 fatalities due to television tip overs between 2000 and 2011, mostly occurring in children between the age of 1 month and 8 years.

"TVs need to be strapped or anchored to the wall," said Dr. Gary Smith, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance. "I think that's our biggest problem right now. Many parents are unaware that TVs can be so life threatening if it topples over and falls on top of your child."

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