Falling TV’s Increasingly Injuring Kids

America's Top Disability Attorney, Frank N. Darras, discusses dangers of unsecured flat screens TV's.

July 29, 2013

Long gone are the days of box televisions in houses. The popularity of flat screen TV's has led to some unforeseen accidents and injuries. The number of households in America with multiple TVs has more than doubled since 1990. According to International Science Times, these injuries involving children are rising, with the number of kids hurt by falling TVs doubling between 1990 and 2011. In a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the prevalence of television-related injuries to U.S. children is one child hurt every 30 minutes.

"This is an unprecedented amount of injuries to children. Despite the alarming number of injuries occurring, parents remain unaware of the danger. A falling TV is just not something at the top of the list of safety concerns for parents. Most would probably consider it a rare freak accident. It's much more common than parents realize," says Frank N. Darras, America's top disability insurance lawyer.

According to a recent update from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 29 people, mostly children, were killed by falling TV's in the US in 2011 and more than 200 children have died since 2000. In addition, 18,000 people a year, again mostly children, are treated for injuries from falling TV's. Safety experts believe the switch to lighter flat-screen's has made the problem worse as consumers take heavier sets out of the family room and into the bedroom on more unstable surfaces.

"Children will climb up on furniture to try to turn the TV on and there goes the heavy television as well as the piece of furniture. The TV's alone, weighing 50 to 100 pounds, can crush a child," says Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Despite the rise in injuries from flat screens, few parents are aware of the danger and even fewer are taking steps to prevent these injuries from occurring. Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that just 27% of parents had seen media reports about the danger. Only 3% had secured traditional tube TVs to walls or furniture; 5% had secured flat-screen sets to furniture and just 28% had attached them to walls. According to Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, attaching a flat-screen to the wall is the safest choice.

"With so little awareness about the dangers of falling TV's, injuries will continue to rise among our children. Kids are notorious for climbing and getting into things they aren't supposed to. Accidents happen, but some are preventable. You don't want your child to ever get injured, but many are getting seriously injured before they make it to middle school," says Darras.

In the event of an accident, children are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration from birth up to age 18. They must meet SSA's definition of disability for children and the parents and child must have low income and few resources. The SSA has a strict definition of disability for children and includes a mental or physical condition(s) that "very seriously" limits his or her activities and the condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year.