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Special Report: A Falling Danger
COLUMBUS (Adam Aaro) -- Researchers have discovered the number of children being hurt by TV-related tip-over injuries has nearly doubled. Dr. Gary Smith at Nationwide Children's Hospital helped lead the study which looked at television related injuries from 1990 through 2011.
"Currently, there's a child treated in a hospital's emergency department in the U.S. once every 45 minutes," Dr. Smith said.
The study, published in "Pediatrics", found in the past 22 years, there's been an estimated 385,000 children under the age of 18 treated in emergency rooms for a TV-related injury. That's about 17,000 a year. And most are young children.
"Young children under five, they're curious," Dr. Smith said. "They don't recognize danger. They see something attractive like a remote control on top of the TV, and they'll try to climb up and get it."
Researchers also discovered it wasn't just the new TVs that are the problem. Old TVs are too because they're getting put on furniture not meant for a TV. In fact the study found there was a 344-percent increase in the number of injuries associated with a a TV falling from a dresser/bureau/chest of drawers/armoire from 1995-2011.
"They'll pull the drawers out and use them as stairs and that will cause everything to topple over on top of them," Dr. Smith said.
A Marion family knows the danger first hand.
"All of the sudden I hear a loud bang and a cry so I run into the living room and my son actually had the TV laying on top of him," Central Ohio mom Tonya McCreary.
Eleven years ago McCreary's son Corey had a TV fall on him from a piece of furniture not meant for a TV. The impact broke his collarbone.
"I'd always have my foot on the TV stand every single time," Mcreary's son Corey Rice said. "Even though my mom told me not to, I'd do it anyway."
Corey was able to recover but sometimes these types of falls can be deadly. That's because Dr. Smith says kids can suffer severe injuries to the head or face.
"These injuries are 100-percent preventable," Dr. Smith said. "The way parents can do that is make sure every TV in the home is attached to a wall."
Experts also advise buying straps to lock your TV into place onto the stand, or by attaching it to the wall. And Dr. Smith says if possible, attach the furniture the TV is on to the wall too. Also, keep remote controls, toys or anything else that might catch a child's eye off TV stands or furniture holding the TV. And at all costs, avoid putting your old TV on a piece of furniture not meant to hold a TV.
For more information about the Dr. Smith's study: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/07/17/peds.2013-1086.full.pdf html
For research done by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission on falling TVs, furniture and appliances: http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/108985/tipover2011.pdf