Why old TVs can be hazardous to children

Posted at 10:21 AM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 10:23:18-05

While flat-screen TVs have long surpassed older, tube-style TVs in popularity, more than a third of households still have an outdated TV in their home—prompting several consumer groups to issue safety warnings in advance of Super Bowl Sunday.

For the third year, the Consumer Technology Association and Safe Kids Worldwide have teamed up to promote National TV Safety Day on Saturday.

Best Buy, too, also blogged about the issue, reminding parents to keep their children from climbing onto furniture and to secure cords so kids can’t grab them.

“Large tube TVs are still in a lot of homes, and people are moving them into the basement or bedroom and placing them on dressers or a high piece of furniture,” said Laura Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Technology Association. “That piece of furniture was not designed to hold a TV.”

The CTA estimates that 47 percent of TV tip overs happen in the bedroom, and children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk for accidents.

Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, said an increase in fatalities and injuries from falling television sets coincided with the growing popularity of flat-panel TVs about a decade ago.

Carr said from 2002 to 2011, there was a 31 percent increase in TV-related accidents for people 19 and under.

At first, Carr said, the organization believed that owners weren’t mounting the flat-screen TVs properly.  But further studies showed it was the old-fashioned TVs—and where they were being placed—that were the culprit.

“It is a problem,” Carr said.

Both the CTA and Safe Kids Worldwide encourage people who still own cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs to recycle them.

But if you don’t want to do that, the TV should be placed on a low, stable piece of furniture, where they can support the TV better. Carr also recommends furniture straps as a way to make sure dressers and other items won’t topple over.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says a child is sent to the hospital every 24 minutes because of a fallen TV. Last summer, it launched Anchor It!, a campaign to urge people to properly secure their TVs.  

Kim Dulic, a spokeswoman for the CPSC, said she’s heard from parents who said they were never aware of these dangers.

“Most consumers are, one, unaware of the hazards, and two, feel like a small child can’t tip over heavy items,” Dulic said.

But, for example, if a TV is placed on top of a dresser, and the drawers are open, a child could climb up the drawers like stairs and cause the TV to fall.  

A recent study from the CPSC found that a CRT TV can fall from an average-size dresser with an impact force of up to 12,000 pounds.

“No child is a match for that,” Dulic said. 

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