Unstable TVs Pose Serious Risk to Children

A review of records for the past 10 years indicates that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced eight recalls for various types of TV tables or TV stands that had the potential of allowing an unstable television to fall onto children thereby causing serious injuries or death.

Eight recalls between 1995 and 2006 for over 3 million such products contained reports of everything from relatively minor injuries to fractured skulls and deaths to young children as the result of being crushed under falling television sets.

Consumer advocates and product experts have often pointed to top-heavy portable televisions and light- weight tables and stands as an unstable combination. In the absence of safety harnesses or straps to hold the TV (or other heavy appliance) down, a child can easily pull the television over on himself. In many cases, the TV weighs more than a small child and can easily inflict fatal injuries such as skull fractures.

In the past several weeks, two such incidents in New York City have taken the lives of two children. While small children learning to walk can pull an unstable or top-heavy television over, even older children have been killed when a TV has toppled over onto them while playing.

The fact that many video games are connected by cables to the back of television sets is also a problem since accidentally pulling on the cables can be enough to bring down the TV onto the child. Many children have televisions in their bedrooms where it is unlikely that they will be supervised by an adult while watching TV or playing video games.

Consumer advocates and the parents of children who have been killed or seriously injured by falling TV sets advocate warnings on all tables and stands designed to hold heavy appliances, TVs, or stereo/video equipment. In addition, they urge that the tables or the appliances be equipped with safety straps that would allow the TV, stereo, or other piece of equipment to be secured to the table or stand to ensure that it could not be accidentally topped over on a child.

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