Of all the ways kids can get hurt, TV-related injuries might not rank among the top household hazards parents worry about.
But every 45 minutes, a child is brought to emergency room in the United States after a television tip-over, and about every three weeks, one of those children dies, according to safety advocates. Earlier this week, a 4-year-old girl died from head and brain injuries after being struck by a falling TV in her home in Aurora, Ill., The Chicago Tribune reported.
Ahead of the Super Bowl — often the most-watched television event of the year — the group Safe Kids Worldwide has declared Saturday (Feb. 1) National TV Safety Day to educate families about properly securing their big screens, with mounts and anchors to prevent accidents.
The group warns that old, clunky sets, like cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs, can get knocked over by a curious toddler and are especially dangerous when placed on a high surface, like the top of a bedroom dresser.
Top-heavy flat panel TVs, too, can be pulled down by a climbing child if the set is not mounted to a wall. In a 2012 survey, Safe Kids Worldwide found that just one in four parents had mounted their flat panel TVs to the wall. Most said they didn't because they were worried about damaging their walls, or worried the TV might fall off the wall.
As part of the campaign, Safe Kids Worldwide and Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) are urging parents and caregivers to recycle their old TVs, and the make sure the ones they keep are appropriately secured to keep kids safe.
"We're asking families to add one important, and perhaps overlooked, task to their Super Bowl prep," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in a statement. "Take a look around your home. Can the flat panel TV tip over? Have you moved the old CRT to a bedroom dresser where it rarely gets watched? On National TV Safety Day, recycle that old TV. Your home will be safer for it."
Here are Safe Kids and CEA three tips for parents:
- Secure your TV. Make sure older CRT TVs are placed on a low, stable piece of furniture that is appropriate for the TV's size and weight. Make sure flat panel televisions are mounted to the wall.
- Recycle your TV. (The groups recommend www.GreenerGadgets.org to find a location to do so.)
- If you're replacing your CRT with a new TV, make sure it's properly secured.