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On Parenting
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 02/16/2012

How to prevent TVs from falling on children

It is heartbreaking any time a toddler gets seriously hurt or worse, but there is a special torture in knowing that a child’s injury could have been easily prevented.

TVs should be placed on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid setting them on flimsy shelves. (Toshiba)
One of the most common of these tragedies is when a television topples on a child. In recent months there’s been a rash of these deaths in the Chicago area. It has also occurred too many times in the D.C. region. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that every other week, a child dies in the United States when a television, a piece of furniture or an appliance falls on him. (A wrenching first-person account from a mother that will make any parent check their setup is on the CPSC site.)

Why does this keep happening?

Televisions are often the centerpiece of a family’s home, but parents tend to forget how intriguing these behemoths are to curious little minds and hands. Some experts also think the trend to hang flat-screen TVs on walls may be increasing falling hazards.

To confront the issue, the CPSC is trying a new tack. This evening, it will host its first Twitter chat on the subject.

The group is asking parents to join a panel of experts at 7 p.m. and use the hashtag #TVSafety. It especially wants parents to send in pictures of how their television and other bulky furniture are placed in the home so the experts can offer specific safety tips.

The advisers will include CPSC officials, Nancy Cowles from Kids in Danger and Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy , part of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospitalin Columbus, Ohio.

In the meantime, the CPSC offers these tips for securing televisions and other large pieces of furniture:

• Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.

• Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid setting them on flimsy shelves.

• Push the TV as far back as possible.

• Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.

• Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking over the TV.

• Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

Have you child-proofed your TV? Will you join the Twitter chat?

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By  |  07:00 AM ET, 02/16/2012

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