According to a recent study conducted by Canadian scientists, toppled TVs put toddlers at risk, causing one death every three weeks.
The findings were published on Tuesday in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. Dr. Michael Cusimano, neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and co-author Nadine Parker performed an analysis of 29 surveys from 7 countries.
It was determined that tens of thousands of kids have been injured when TVs fell on them, and their number has been rising dramatically. Around 85% of these cases involved television sets placed on top of furniture, and in over 75% of the incidents no adult caregiver was in the vicinity.
Most of the times, the TVs toppled when a collision was involved, when kids climbed on them, when a TV component was pulled or when the device was pushed. As the heavy set collapsed on the children, it crushed their bodies under its weight, and since the victims were small, usually the first point of contact was their head.
As a result, in 40% of the cases, the kids suffered skull fractures, and 15% of them actually had brain hemorrhage because of this head trauma. Brain bleeding is highly dangerous, its complications including stroke, loss of brain function, paralysis and even death.
According to estimations by Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to protecting children from unintentional injuries, every thee weeks a US kid dies as a result of TV accidents.
Like the researchers have noted, the highest risk is for toddlers, who sometimes want to explore their surroundings and climb on top of unstable furniture.
If they decide to try to reach the stand on which the TV is placed, the device can tumble and crash on them if it’s not firmly secured to the wall. The risks are significant especially for flat screen TVs, which can weigh up to 60 pounds, and are easily overturned if they are not mounted correctly.
“They open a drawer, climb up to try to reach a toy and the TV has a center of gravity that is quite high and it falls on the child with devastating consequences”, explained Cusimano.
Kids between the age of 2 and 5 are more at risk of sustaining such injuries also because they tend to spend more time watching TV. As researchers have noted, toddlers devote more than 32 hours every week to television programs.
Brain or nerve damage, as well as fatal head injuries are all dangers that kids are exposed to, when television sets aren’t safely attached, and when they are without supervision from adults. Sometimes however, such accidents can happen even when parents are watching, and they occur so suddenly that the caregivers are left helpless.
As a result, researchers urge families to take precautions, in order to prevent unfortunate incidents from happening. They should ensure that their TVs are safely placed on a stable base, properly secured to the wall, and beyond the reach of their small children.
They should also avoid placing toys, bright objects or remote controls on top of television sets. Moreover, they should use a proper TV stand, instead of perching the device on tall furniture, and they should make sure that the TV isn’t positioned close to the edge.
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