Objective: To quantify pediatric injuries and deaths that result from toppled television sets.
Design: Retrospective analysis of incident files compiled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data systems and The Children's Hospital of Alabama (TCHA) inpatient medical records.
Setting: United States, January 1990-June 1997. TCHA, May 1995-October 1997.
Main outcome measures: Morbidity or mortality as a result of a television set falling onto a child.
Results: Over the 7-year period from January 1990 to June 1997, 73 cases that involved falling television sets were reported to the CPSC, including 28 deaths. The mean age of all victims was 36 months (SD +/- 25.4 months). The mean age of those who died was 31 months (SD +/- 22 months). Females accounted for 42 incidents (58%) and 19 deaths (68%). The most common anatomic site of injury was the head, which accounted for 72% of cases investigated by CPSC personnel. Of the 14 deaths further investigated by the CPSC, head injury was responsible for 13, with a generalized crushing injury accounting for the other. Of the 45 cases in which data were available, dressers or stands were identified as the television support 76% of the time. The TCHA database yielded five additional cases, including one death, with demographics similar to the CPSC data.
Conclusion: Serious injury and death can occur as a result of children toppling television sets from elevated locations in the home. The furniture on which a television set is situated is of fundamental importance. An estimate of overall risk to the population is impossible to determine from these data. In light of 73 reported cases with 28 deaths; however, injury prevention counseling and other strategies supporting in-home safety should include a secure and child-safe location for television sets. Attention should be paid to safer design and placement of this ubiquitous product. television, wounds and injuries, accidents, human, infants, children.