Family & Parenting

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Preventing TV tip-over injuries

Big-screen televisions are often the focal points of family rooms and dens. Members of the family gather around to watch their favorite sporting events and movies, while kids may line up to play video games on the large screen. Although these large televisions can add some life to home theaters, larger televisions may pose dangers to young children.

According to a report by Safe Kids that includes data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been a 31 percent increase in the number of children injured by a television tipping over in the last 10 years. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia states that there were 3,000 children injured in this manner over the course of a single year. In 2011, 37 children were killed from injuries resulting in televisions, furniture and appliances falling on them.

Flat screen televisions have continually dropped in price as there has been more competition in the market. This means that larger televisions are becoming affordable for the masses. A person who is vacillating between two sizes may opt for the larger screen simply because there isn't much difference in price.

According to Safe Kids, many flat screen televisions are very top-heavy. Children who are naturally curious may climb up on furniture to investigate the TV or attempt to push the buttons to turn it on. All it takes is a little push or pull to tip the television over and put kids at risk of injury. Many flat screen televisions are placed on stands low to the ground, making them even more accessible to curious kids.

Parents may wonder how to keep their youngsters safe. There are some precautions to take.

* Older tube televisions should be placed on low-profile stands that are sturdy and less susceptible to being tipped over.

* When using a stand, place the TV as far back as possible.

* Ensure that the television stand is big enough to hold the TV sturdily.

* Flat screen televisions are safer when attached to the wall.

* Inexpensive straps and wall anchors can be purchased to affix heavy furniture and televisions to the wall to prevent tip overs. Make sure the anchor is drilled into a wall stud.

* Keep remote controls readily available so children will not have to climb to find them.

* Do not place toys or other interesting items on top of tall furniture or televisions.

Tip-over accidents are not just dangerous to children. The elderly, who may use furniture to brace themselves when walking, are also at risk, further emphasizing the need to secure televisions as much as possible.

Gadsden Times