Young Children at Risk of Head Injuries From Falling Televisions, Furniture

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Most of these injuries (84%) occur in the home, and more than three-quarters happen when parents or other caregivers aren't watching.
Most of these injuries (84%) occur in the home, and more than three-quarters happen when parents or other caregivers aren't watching.

HealthDay New -- Between 2011 and 2013, an average of more than 15,000 children a year were treated in emergency departments for injuries involving televisions, or televisions and furniture, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). From 2000 to 2013, there were 279 deaths related to such incidents, the CPSC said. A report on these injuries was published online in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Michael D. Cusimano, MD, PhD, and Nadine Parker, from the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, analyzed data from 29 previously published studies. The studies clearly showed that most head injuries from falling televisions occur in toddlers, and many of these injuries are severe and sometimes fatal, Cusimano told HealthDay.

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As televisions have become larger and cheaper, injuries have been increasing, he said. Most of these injuries (84%) occur in the home, and more than three-quarters happen when parents or other caregivers aren't watching, the researchers found. Often televisions fall as children climb on furniture to get a toy or other attractive item, Cusimano said. In many cases, television sets are on top of dressers or other pieces of furniture that weren't designed to hold a television, he added. Older children often overturn televisions as they collide with the stand or furniture on which the set is placed.

Cusimano and Parker said that most children injured are too young to know the risks posed by televisions and are also uncoordinated, increasing the odds of an accident. 

In addition, because the children are short, head injuries are more likely as the television falls, they said.

Reference

1. Cusimano M et al. J. Neurosurg. 2015; doi: 10.3171/2015.2.PEDS1582.

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