Watching the big game on a big TV? Keep safety in mind if young children are around.
Seven of 10 fatal furniture tip-over incidents in children involve a falling television, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns.
Its latest report on furniture-related tip-over incidents turned up an annual average of 19,400 tip-over injuries treated in emergency rooms from 2019 to 2021.
In all, 592 deaths — 81% involving children under age 18 — were reported between 2000 and 2021. Of the 482 children who died, 88% were under age 5.
About 93% of TV tip-overs included head injuries.
Black Americans appeared to be at particular risk, sustaining 23% of the injuries when race was known, despite making up just 13% of the U.S. population.
“Furniture and TV tip-overs remain a major safety hazard in American households,” said CPSC chair Alex Hoehn-Saric, who noted that the commission advanced regulations last year aimed at making certain furniture safer.
“But people can take action in their own homes right now, by purchasing and installing anti-tip-over kits," Hoehn-Saric said in a CPSC news release. "Most kits cost less than $20 and can be installed in fewer than 20 minutes. As consumers purchase new TVs before Sunday's big game kick-off, we urge everyone to take those 20 minutes and help ensure new TVs, along with all other furniture, are anchored safely in place.”
In October, CPSC approved a new safety standard for clothing storage units. And in December, the federal STURDY Act became law, requiring a safety standard to protect children from tip-overs.
Right now, parents, caregivers and those who have children visit their homes can anchor TVs and furniture, such as bookcases and dressers, securely to the wall.
Always place TVs on a sturdy, low base, and push the TV back as far as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible, the CPSC advises.
Keep TV and cable cords out of reach of children, CPSC recommends. Supervise kids, even when furniture is anchored.
Avoid displaying or storing toys and remotes where kids may be tempted to climb to reach for them.
Heavier items should be stored on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
Use a recycling center to dispose of unused older TVs.
The National Safety Council has more on child safety.
SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, Feb. 9, 2023