Televisions are so common that it is hard to believe that they can cause injuries. But television tip overs can be dangerous and children face the greatest risk of personal injury from these accidents.
There were 581 tip-over deaths from televisions and other furniture and appliances in this country since 2000, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of these fatalities involved children. Televisions were involved in 71% of their deaths.
However, fatal television tip-over injuries involved all age groups. From 2018 to 2020, televisions caused 62% of tip-over deaths for all age groups.
On average, 22,500 Americans visited an emergency room each year because of tip-over injuries caused by furniture, a television or appliance. Approximately 44% of injured individuals were under 18.
Contemporary LCD TVs are thinner and lighter than the older and bulkier CRT models. But modern televisions are still heavy. One larger model tested by Consumer Reports weighed approximately 90 pounds with its stand. Another model weighed 99 pounds with its base.
Televisions placed on unstable furniture cause the greatest risk. A dresser is especially risky because children often pull out dresser drawers so they can climb up the furniture. This may cause the dresser and television to fall on children.
Large televisions are also placed on cabinets, tables and consoles that were designed for older and smaller television sets. This diminishes the stability of these set ups.
New television stands are designed with legs positioned at the edges of the TV base. This setup is unstable when it is placed on media consoles or tables designed for pedestal stands because the feet may extend beyond the stand’s edges.
Property owners have the duty to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries to their guests. These include:
- Wall mounting the television with a properly installed wall mount so it is off the floor and children cannot grab it.
- When wall mounting is unfeasible, securing the television to a wall or the back of a substantial stand using anti-tipping straps.
- Assuring that the stand or furniture is sturdy and may be safely used for the television set and weight and placing the set as far back on the stand.
- Making sure that no portion of the pedestal or feet extends over the edge if a new model is on an older television stand.
- Assuring that the stand or cabinet is not wobbly, especially in older homes.
- Avoiding placement on dressers and chests because children may climb on the drawers.
- Assuring that children cannot reach the television’s electrical cords and cables.
- Not placing remote controls, toys or other child enticing items on the top of the television or stand.