Despite upgrades in television technology, many homes still have large tube televisions. In some cases, these TVs serve as a family’s second (or third or fourth) TV behind the primary flat-screen televisions bought in more recent years. Unfortunately, these older, heavier TVs can be extremely dangerous and experts believe relegating them to less-used rooms might be why television-related accidents are on the rise. There is also concern that people might be using wall-mounting equipment intended only for lighter flat-screens to hang older TVs on the wall.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 200 children have been killed by falling TVs since 2000. There were 29 people killed in 2011 and approximately 18,000 per year are treated for injuries related to falling TVs.
Experts believe the trend toward upgrading to lighter flat-screen TVs might actually be causing more accidents instead of helping families avoid serious TV-related injuries. This is because so many people keep their older TVs, but put them in another room away from the main living area, often placing them on unstable pieces of furniture, such as dressers or playroom shelves. When children climb these furniture pieces to turn on the TVs, they topple over, crushing the child.
Education Prevents Falling Tube Television Accidents
There is also concern that despite the frequency with which these incidents occur, there is still little media attention being paid to the problem. Safety advocacy groups found that only 27 percent of parents had recently seen a report concerning the danger of falling TVs. Parents also indicated they hadn’t done anything to reduce the risk for injury in their home. Only three percent reported securing their tube TVs to walls or furniture, and only five percent had done so with their flat screen TVs. Nearly 50 percent of all tube TVs still in the home were placed on top of dressers.
Studies have shown the dangers associated with tube televisions is real and that more needs to be done to educate consumers. A review of data from 100 emergency rooms by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio showed that nearly 15,000 furniture-related injuries occurred between 1990 and 2007, half of which involved televisions. The research was published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics and pointed out how the injury rate steadily increased from 1990 to 2004 when it reached its peak.
Similar information has been issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which estimated approximately 43,000 injuries associated with appliances, furniture and televisions between 2000 and 2006. Eighty-seven people were killed by televisions during that time. Children across the country – a two year old boy in New Jersey, a 10 month old boy in Philadelphia, an 11 month old girl in Phoenix, a six year old girl in California, and a three year old in Florida – all suffered injuries or were fatally harmed by falling televisions. These statistics show that young children of all ages are at risk.
Avoiding Tube Television Injuries
Safety experts encourage parents to anchor heavy televisions to the wall. This goes for both older tube televisions and newer, lighter flat-screen TVs. Advocates believe these anchor devices should be sold with the TVs, so parents are not forced to purchase the kits separately – something many don’t bother doing because of the extra expense.
One expert compared the sale of TVs to the safety features consumers get automatically when buying a car, pointing out that vehicles are not sold without seat belts and TVs should not be sold without proper safety equipment.
Parents are also encouraged to not make climbing up to the TV enticing for children by leaving remove controls or other items on top of TVs or stands were TVs are positioned.
Industry experts believe that over time, falling TVs will become less and less of a problem as more homes transition to flat-screens in multiple rooms and eventually discard their older, heavier tube televisions. In the meantime, parents need to understand the risks and ensure their TVs are properly secured, whether they are tube televisions or flat-screens.
We want families to know there are things they can do to secure their TVs and avoid television-related accidents in the home. It’s also important people understand that if they or a loved one is injured as the result of a dangerous consumer product, they might be entitled to compensation.