Television tipovers as a significant source of pediatric head injury

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2003 Apr;38(4):191-4. doi: 10.1159/000069098.


Objective: To highlight the rising number and nature of pediatric head injuries secondary to falling television sets and correlate this with the increasing number of home TVs sold per year.

Methods: National statistics for the past 10 years for the number of head traumas from falling television sets in children less than the age of 18 were obtained from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Statistics for the number of TV sales were obtained from the Consumer Electronic US Sales Report for the same time period. A retrospective chart review overlapping the same period of time was performed at our local institution.

Results: National statistics show a steady rise in the number of pediatric head injuries, from 31 in 1992 to 117 in 2001. The number of TVs sold by year increased from 20,384,000 to 23,776,000 in a 10-year period from 1990 to 2000. Six of the 7 patients in our series (average age 22 months, range 18-36 months) suffered a skull fracture; 2 of those 6 were basilar skull fractures. The average length of hospital stay was 5 days (range 1-13 days).

Conclusion: The number of pediatric head injuries from falling televisions has been steadily increasing. A similar, yet more modest rise in the number of televisions manufactured and sold per year has also been noted. From our series, the most common type of pediatric head injury sustained from falling television sets was skull fracture, seen mostly in children less than 2 years of age.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • United States / epidemiology