May 11, 2009

Keep Kids Off Furniture, TVs

Most people don't look at their furniture or television sets as possible hazards to their children's health. But a new study finds growing risk in these common household items.

The incidence of furniture tip-overs injuring children rose 41 percent between 1990 and 2007, report researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital. Most of the kids were under the age of seven and the injury resulted from a toppled television set. Older kids "“ those ages 10 to 17 "“ were more likely to be injured when desks, cabinets, or bookshelves tipped over.

Injuries to the head and neck were most common in younger kids while older kids suffered lower body injuries. Together these types of injuries send about 15,000 kids to the emergency room every year.

What can parents do to ensure their children are safe? The researchers suggest securing large pieces of furniture and heavy TVs to the wall with straps or brackets and avoid putting items children might want up high on furniture.

"Never put attractive items such as a toy or a TV remote control on top of the furniture, on top of the TV," study author Gary Smith, M.D., was quoted as saying. "Children often will try to climb up to reach those and that will cause the furniture to topple over onto them."

SOURCE: Clinical Pediatrics, published online May 4, 2009