By DR. NATALIE LANE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF GEORGIA AND SAFE KIDS GREATER AUGUSTA
If one of the gifts you or your children unwrapped over the holidays is a shiny new television, be sure you handle these electronic wonders with caution and care.
A curious, determined child can topple a TV in an instant, causing serious injury. In fact, about every 45 minutes, a child is taken to an emergency room because of a TV tipping over, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Not surprising, about 47 percent of TV tip-over injuries happen to children under age 5. This age group also accounts for 9 out of 10 serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
It’s important to realize that even though they are heavy, televisions aren’t stable. Older, boxy TVs have most of their weight in front, which makes them easy to topple. New flat-screen TVs have their weight more evenly distributed but are often much larger, and can easily tip if not secured.
Safe Kids recommends you follow these five steps to keep your children safe:
- Check TVs – Do a quick check of the stability of all TVs in your home.
- Secure TVs – Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall to prevent them from toppling off stands. If you’re replacing your older, box-style TV with a new TV, be sure your flat-panel is properly secured with a mount that has a safety certification by an independent laboratory, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a secure fit. If you keep the old boxy set, place it on a low, stable piece of furniture.
- Recycle old TVs – Consider recycling old television sets. To find a location to safely and easily recycle unwanted TVs, go to GreenerGadgets.org
- Secure furniture – Use brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or top-heavy furniture to the wall. Install stops on dresser drawers to prevent them from being pulled all the way out.
- Rearrange household items – Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers, and avoid placing remote controls, food, toys or other items in places where kids might be tempted to climb up or reach for them.
Much like child-proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, TV mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your little ones safe. After all, dramas and tragedies should be watched on TV, not caused by them.
Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide and USA networks. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.
This article appears in the December – January 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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