Toppling TVs a Danger To Toddlers

Nadine Parker M.Sc Injury Prevention Research Office Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute Keenan Research Centre St. Michael’s Hospital Toronto, Ontario, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nadine Parker M.Sc
Injury Prevention Research Office
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
Keenan Research Centre
St. Michael’s Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: TV toppling injuries in children have become increasingly more common in recent years. Including in countries with developing economies where televisions are becoming more affordable. Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize televisions as a hidden home hazard. These easily preventable injuries can be severe or even fatal. Of the deaths due to TV toppling 96% were caused by a head injury. Most of these injuries occur at home with 75% of them unwitnessed by a parent or caregiver. Often furniture such as dressers are used as TV stands but they are not designed to support the weight of TV sets making them unstable. Unfortunately, curious and resourceful young children like to climb these unstable support furniture leading to a toppling event. Play or pushing and pulling the TV set are also common causes of tip-overs.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Rates of TV toppling injuries do not reflect a sufficient level of awareness or an acceptable effort from an injury prevention perspective. Caregivers, healthcare professionals, legislators, and manufacturers all have a role to play in reducing the rate of television toppling injuries. From a parent or caregivers perspective, increased awareness of TV toppling injuries, increased supervision of children within the home, restricting play in the vicinity of a TV, and the knowledge of how to properly secure a TV set are all important. Both caregivers and healthcare professionals can play a role in raising awareness for these easily preventable injuries as well as help advocate for changes in regulations and legislation.  Legislators should be made aware of these types of injuries and regulations for the engineering and labeling of TV sets and stands should be amended with TV toppling events in mind. Finally, manufacturers can have a big impact in improving designs and placing warnings on boxes, TV sets, and manuals.

Some ways to limit tip-over accidents in the home include:

  • not placing TVs on furniture such as dressers which are not designed to withstand the weight of a TV,
  • choosing TV stands that are low to the ground and not easily climbed by young children,
  • placing television sets away from the front edge of the stand,
  • securing TVs to the stand or properly wall mounting flat paneled TVs.
  • We also recommend not placing the remote or toys on top of the TV as this can entice small children to climb the TV stand leading to injury.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response:   Investigation into better design of TV sets and stands to prevent toppling is key. Many methods to raise awareness have not been tested to determine their efficacy and should also be studied. Finally future studies should continue to monitor the rates of TV toppling nationally to determine if there are any improvements.

Citation:

Michael D. Cusimano, Nadine Parker. Toppled television sets and head injuries in the pediatric population: a framework for prevention. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, 2015; 1 DOI:10.3171/2015.2.PEDS14472

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Nadine Parker M.Sc (2015). Toppling TVs a Danger To Toddlers 

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