TV - The silent killer

TV Arts


Deaths by falling TVs rising 
By Associated Press

The number of children killed or injured by falling television sets
appears to have risen even as more consumers replace their clunky old
TVs with lighter flat screens, studies suggest. 

The reason for the rise isn't clear but could result from traditional
TV sets becoming heavier and, an industry official suggests,
households choosing a flat screen for their main TV and relegating old
sets to rickety furniture in other rooms. 

A team from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide
Children's Hospital in Ohio reviewed data from 100 emergency rooms and
estimated that about 14,700 furniture-related injuries occurred each
year between 1990 and 2007—almost half due to TV sets, the most common
article involved in the accidents—and resulted in about 300 deaths. 

The research, published in October in the journal Clinical Pediatrics,
showed that the number and rate of injuries to youngsters from falling
furniture increased significantly over the period. The rate generally
rose from 18.8 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 22.9 in 2007, peaking at
25.7 in 2004. 

A similar report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission last
year estimated 42,700 injuries and 180 deaths associated with
appliance, furniture and television instability and tip-overs from
2000 to 2006; 87 of the deaths involved televisions. The number rose
from seven in 2000 to 23 in 2006. 

Several children have been killed or injured in recent weeks alone. A
2-year-old New Jersey boy died Dec. 7 when he tipped over a chest of
drawers holding a large TV set. A 10-month-old Philadelphia boy was
critically injured Dec. 10 when a television fell onto him. An
11-month-old Phoenix girl died a month ago after her 2-year-old
brother pulled a television off its stand while trying to change the

Other recent accidents killed a 6-year-old California girl and
seriously injured a 3-year-old in Florida. 

"Every day, in this country, about 40 young children are rushed to
emergency departments with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture
has fallen on them," said Gary Smith, director of the Ohio injury
research center and a member of the team that conducted the study.
"This is not a small problem; it's a common problem, and it's

Many of the injuries have involved heavy standard cathode-ray tube
TVs, which are weighted to the front and can be tipped forward by a
child, said Arlene Flecha, spokeswoman for the safety commission,
which is doing another study following up on furniture injuries to
gain more details, such as the types of televisions involved. 

The burgeoning popularity of flat-screen televisions could eventually
lead to fewer injuries because they are not as front-heavy, the study

Newer cathode sets are larger and heavier than old models. And while
53 percent of consumers now own flat-panel models, roughly half of
them probably still own the older models and might be shifting them
from a proper TV stand into a bedroom or other room and placing them
less securely atop a table or dresser, said Megan Pollock, a
representative of the Consumer Electronics Association. 

Of the deaths studied by the Ohio group, 93 percent were due to
dressers and TVs falling onto children, and almost all victims were 3
or younger and died of head injuries or suffocation. 

For Sylvia Santiago, of West Haven, Conn., news accounts of the recent
deaths reminded her of the crash that awakened her in July at a
friend's home. A heavy TV set had fallen from a low stand, and it took
Santiago a while to see her 2 1/2-year-old daughter lying beneath it. 

"When I looked down, all I saw was her legs underneath the TV," said
Santiago, 23. Her daughter, Janiyah Powe-Santiago, died a week later. 

Parents should anchor heavy televisions to the wall, said Smith, the
researcher, adding that anchoring devices should be sold along with

"Just like we wouldn't sell a motor vehicle without a seat belt in it,
there is no safe way to put a large piece of furniture in a home where
children live and play and have that be a safe environment," he said.
Parents should also never put a remote control, toy or other enticing
object on a TV, dresser or shelf that a child might try to reach, he

Pollock said the industry has been trying for years to educate
consumers about the problem through public service campaigns and
instructions included with TVs. 

While the dangers could fade as the lighter flat panels dominate more
of the market, Flecha pointed out that even some of them are
"humongous" and should also be placed with care. 

Santiago, now studying to be a paralegal, said she never thought about
the danger posed by a heavy television set on a low stand. She said
she struggled through Janiyah's birthday last month and that the
approaching holidays feel like "round two." 

"People think 'It will never happen to me; I'll have my child forever;
something like this will never happen to my child,'" she said. "Well,
it did happen to me, so I don't want anyone to think twice about
securing their furniture."
I'd be just as worried about eyesight problems and epileptic fits
triggered by cheap, shimmering LCD TV's from Walmart.
Both will pale compared to the heart attacks and diabetes complications 
continuing to spike, from more and more people spending the better part 
of their waking hours sitting or lying on their asses, 'interacting' 
with a glowing screen (TV and Computer, not that they are much different 
any more), rather than actually doing anything. MAD magazine called it 
accurately in several articles decades ago. For a modern example, see 
the caricature fat people in robot chairs onboard ship in the wall-e movie.
From: [email protected] (aemeijers) 
'interacting' with a glowing screen (TV and Computer, not that they are
much different any more)