Public needs to heighten awareness of dangers of elevated TVs that are larger, heavier

lieved to be the first in which researchers personally surveyed parents about the circumstances surrounding their child's injuries. The study calls for manufacturers to make available or include an inexpensive furniture securing device such as a strap, and to add labels warning of the potential danger of units toppling.

A public awareness campaign also is needed, according to the research team. A similar awareness campaign involving injuries from toppling vending machines resulted in more units being secured to floors and walls, the researchers noted.

"More aggressive education to warn parents about the risk of injury must be implemented so that more families will take the time to display their televisions safely," said study author Dr. Robert Todd Maxson, assistant professor of pediatric surgery at UT Southwestern and medical director of the pediatric trauma service at Children's Medical Center Dallas. Researchers reviewed 26 cases handled by the Children's emergency department between November 2003 and October 2004. The children injured by falling TVs ranged in age from 1 to 7 years old.

Some of their findings included:

  • Nine children were hospitalized, including two in the intensive care unit. Fourteen suffered head injuries and nine injured an arm or leg. More than one-third of cases were admitted to the hospital for stays ranging from one to four days, while the rest were treated and discharged. One case required surgery for a large facial cut.
  • Televisions with 20- to 30-inch screens were most commonly involved, making up 65 percent of cases. TVs 19 inches or smaller made up less than a fifth of the cases and screens of between 30 and 40 inches were about 16 percent of cases.
  • Eighty-five percent of the TVs toppled were situated between two and five feet from the floor.
  • About three out of every four parents questioned said the child was or may have been climbing on the furniture when the accident occurred; the

Contact: Russell Rian
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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