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Falling Televisions Hazard

Hidden Dangers


Updated December 10, 2011

Most parents understand basic childproofing and protect their kids from obvious hazards, such as by using a car seat, installing gates on stairs, latches on cabinets, and putting covers on electrical outlets.

Unfortunately, many parents overlook some less obvious hazards which can put their kids at risk of injury or death. One of these 'hidden hazards' is associated with furniture tipping over and falling on kids as they try to climb on a bookcase, dresser, or television stand, etc.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 8,000 to 10,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year because of tipover injuries, and there are about 6 deaths each year from this hazard.

Injuries from falling televisions have even been increasing, including head injuries in toddlers, such as skull fractures. Although you might think that the rise in injuries from falling TVs is simply because more people have large screen TVs, a study by Dr. Todd Maxson found that most of the televisions involved had just 20- to 30-inch screens.

The fact that many newer TVs are 'front heavy' and easy to tipover, may be the reason for the rise in injuries.

Preventing Television Tipover Injuries

To help prevent tipover injuries, you should:
  • Use an anchor and/or angle brace to secure furniture to the wall.
  • Place your television on a low piece of furniture, as far back as it will go.
  • Make sure that your television stand is sturdy, can handle the weight of your TV, and doesn't easily tipover.
  • Anchor your TV to the wall with an appliance strap.
  • Clear your TV and stand of any items that your children might try to climb to reach, including toys, movies, books, etc. Placing a VCR or DVD player on top of your TV is also a bad idea, as your child might climb on top of the TV to put a movie in, causing the TV to topple on top of him.
Since appliance straps rely on adhesives, which are not always the best system for securing something, it would be even more helpful if television manufactures began to include a place on the back of their TVs where we could attach a cable or cord that could then be secured to the wall.


CPSC Document #5004 Furniture Can Tip Over On Children.

Television tipovers as a significant source of pediatric head injury. Jea A - Pediatr Neurosurg - 01-APR-2003; 38(4): 191-4.

Childhood injuries caused by falling televisions. Ota FS - Acad Emerg Med - 01-JUN-2006; 13(6): 700-3.

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