Tipping TVs remain a child safety problem

When an 8-year-old boy was killed Thursday after a TV cart in an after-school program tipped over on top of him, attention is rekindled for child safety relating to over-sized electronics and furniture. Awareness and response are an integral part of keeping kids safe.

DadLabs/YouTube
A screenshot from a YouTube video produced by dadlabs.com, explaining ways to make your home safe to children, including how to anchor large furniture to the walls.

Police reported that an 8-year-old boy attending an after-school program in Gardner, Mass., was killed when a TV cart fell on top of him.

The story is tragic and, unfortunately, not unique. A simple online search for similar stories finds four different instances in the last month alone of kids being injured, or killed, when a television fell on top of them.

The Modern Parenthood blog originally highlighted the problem in 2012, citing a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported that in 2011 alone, 13,800 kids were injured and 12 killed in the US by toppling TVs.

With the report of the 8-year-old boy coming from Massachusetts and more online, we have to ask: Why is this still a problem?

Anchoring heavy furniture and electronics seems to be the No. 1 preventative measure in helping kids stay safe around large household hazards.

The group Safe and Sound with Amaya in Syracuse, N.Y., was started by two grandparents whose 2-year-old granddaughter was killed in 2012 when she pulled a TV over on herself. 

Deborah Deming, who founded the group with her husband Scott told The Post-Standard newspaper, "A lot of parents will say it can't happen to me; it won't happen. But families like us can tell you it does happen, and it happens every day."

According to a public-education campaign from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "On average, one child dies every 2 weeks when a TV, piece of furniture, or an appliance falls on him, according to reports received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 2000 to 2010."

The CPSC recommends tips for keeping children safe, including:

  • Anchor furniture to the floor or wall.
  • Placing TVs on sturdy, low bases. Or, anchoring the furniture and the TV on top of it, pushing the TV as far back on top of the furniture as possible.
  • Keeping remote controls, toys, and other items attractive to kids off of TV stands or furniture.
  • Keeping cords for TV and/or cable out of a child's reach.
  • Making sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
  • Supervising children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed. 
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