TV Can Harm Your Kids
Can television be harmful to your children? Absolutely, experts say—and not just from inappropriate programming. Injury or even death can result when a large, poorly secured television set falls on a child—and it happens. Last November, news reports told of two toddlers in the Chicago area who were killed by falling TVs within 10 days of each other. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that since 2006, some 16,000 Americans age 5 and younger have been treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by tumbling TVs or other furniture. And awareness of this common household danger isn’t as great as it should be.
Each year, six to eight such injuries are seen in the Pediatric Emergency Room at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, says Darshan Patel, M.D., Chief of the Pediatric Emergency Department. As a referral center providing advanced pediatric care—such as pediatric neurosurgery—for community hospitals throughout the lower Hudson Valley, his department treats the most severe, traumatic cases. “Over the past few years we have seen an increase in injuries of this kind,” he reports. The more portable flatscreen sets have made the problem worse, he says. “The older sets were bigger and heavier, so their weight and bulk tended to make them more stable,” he says. “These newer plasma and LCD TVs are lighter, but paradoxically that increases the danger.”
Today’s television sets can still be two to three times the weight of a small child. “We are seeing younger kids with a higher proportion of head and neck injuries such as skull fractures or brain hemmorhages,” says Dr. Patel. The American Acadamy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians discuss home safety with parents when a child reaches 6 months of age, because “that’s right before the child starts to cruise,” Dr. Patel says. As children grab onto things to move about, it’s important for parents to make sure an ill-secured television set isn’t one of those things. The CPSC has suggestions for anyone who has young children or welcomes small children as guests into their home. (See “6 Tips to Keep Your Children Safe,” at right.) But Dr. Patel says the best way to kid-proof a home is to get down on the child’s level and see the environment from that perspective.
6 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
Follow these safety tips in any home where children live or visit:
- Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
- Place TVs on sturdy, low bases.
- Anchor furniture and place the TV on top of it, as far back on the furniture as possible.
- Keep remote controls, toys and other items that might be attractive to children off TV stands or furniture.
- Keep TV and cable cords out of children’s reach.
- Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.
Source: Consumer Product Darshan Safety Com
Related Read: Unplug Your Kids