Falling furniture injures many kids

May 4th, 2009 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 4 (IANS) Is your child really safe when he is sitting in front of the TV watching his favourite programme? A recent study found that from 1990 to 2007 an average of nearly 15,000 children, younger than 18 years, received injuries from furniture tip-overs.
Despite warnings from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of such injuries involving TV sets and other furniture has increased in the US since the early 1990s.

“There was a more than 40 percent increase in the number of injuries during the study period, and the injury rate also significantly increased during these years,” said study co-author Gary Smith, director of the Centre for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The study said most furniture tip-over-related injuries occurred among children younger than seven and resulted from TV sets tipping over. More than a quarter of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture.

Children aged between 10-17 years were more likely to suffer injuries from desks, cabinets or bookshelves tipping over. Head and neck injuries were most common among younger children, while children older than nine years were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower body.

Parents can minimise risks to children by placing TV sets close to the ground and near the back of their stands and strapping TV sets and furniture to the wall.

Purchasing furniture with wide legs or with solid bases, installing drawer stops on chests of drawers and placing heavy items close to the floor on shelves will also help prevent tip-overs.

Additionally, parents can reduce a child’s desire to climb furniture by not placing attractive items, such as toys or the remote control, high on top of the furniture or the TV, said a CIRP release.

“Paediatricians and child care givers should be aware that furniture tip-overs are an important source of childhood injury,” said Smith, faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

These findings were published in the online issue of Clinical Paediatrics.

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