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Toppling TV Injuries on the Rise for U.S. Children

Update Date: Jul 22, 2013 02:59 PM EDT
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Television can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, causing obesity and health problems, as well as poor behaviors and choices that result in drug and alcohol abuse. In order to protect young children from the potential dangers of TV with its wide range of genres, parents often set rules and limits. However, even young children can sneak past these rules and end up sitting in front of the TV. According to a new study, sitting in front of a TV even if the TV is not on can already be a threat. This new study reports that for every 45 minutes in the United States, a child is rushed to the emergency department due to a toppling TV.

"These are occurring primarily to younger children...when [the TVs] start coming toward them, they don't realize the danger," the study's senior author, Dr. Gary Smith said according to Reuters. Smith is also the president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance and the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Smith and his colleagues decided to study the statistics behind toppling TV injuries because previous studies were small and were becoming outdated. The research team evaluated TV-caused injuries from 1990 to 2011 taken from a database of hospital emergency rooms throughout the country. From this data, which was deemed nationally representative, around 381,000 children and teenagers had suffered from a TV-related injury.

The researchers found that over half of the recorded injuries were due to toppling TVs. 38 percent of the injuries resulted from children running into the TVs. Nine percent fell under the category of other situations, which included moving TVs. The most common injuries were located in the head and neck regions. The researchers noted that the majority of the injuries involved boys, who made up 61 percent of the injuries and younger children, with 64 percent of the injuries happening to children under five. Children who were two-years-old appeared to be the most vulnerable group to suffer from a TV-related injury.

The researchers calculated that the number of injuries per year held study at 17,000. The rate of injuries specifically for toppling TVs, however, doubled from 1990 to 2011.

"What we're finding is when those second and third TVS are being brought into these homes, the [older and bulkier units] are being moved and put in other parts of the home that are unsafe," Smith said. "TVs need to be strapped or anchored to the wall. I think that's our biggest problem right bow. Many parents are unaware that TVs can be so life threatening if it topples over and falls on top of your child."

The study was published in Pediatrics.

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