Once upon a time—when I was a little kid playing in the small living room where my siblings and I played Lego—we almost died. Our huge ITT color TV tried to kill us with all its wood-paneled power.
Sergio, my youngest brother, bumped against the piece of furniture that supported the TV. The heavy CRT fell onto us, in slow motion. I tried to hold it, but it was too heavy for a little kid like me. Fortunately for all of us, my uncle Antolín was there: He jumped from the sofa to hold it himself, struggling to put the cathodic beast back on top of the stand. One second later could have resulted in both my brother and I crushed under that monster.
Many other kids were not that lucky. Three hundred in the United States alone died from 1990 to 2007. According to Gary Smith—director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, and co-author of a recent study on 100 emergency rooms nationwide, published in the Clinical Pediatrics journal—there were 14,700 furniture-related accidents. Of those, half were due to TVs:
Every day, in this country, about 40 young children are rushed to emergency departments with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture has fallen on them. This is not a small problem; it's a common problem, and it's increasing.
A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission—spanning from 2000 to 2006—supported his paper: 42,700 injuries and 180 deaths related to appliances and furniture were registered, 87 of those directly related to televisions. Both the Clinical Pediatrics paper and the government study showed dramatic increases over the last few years: 18.8 per 100,000 people in 1990 vs 22.9 per 100,000 people in 2007.
The reason for that increase? Apparently, we have to blame flat TVs. They are not the actual killers, however: The real killers are the CRTs that the flat TVs are replacing. As parents buy new TVs, they move the old CRT giants into kids playrooms. Those are the ones falling, killing or injuring children.
So, if you have kids or know someone who is doing this, make sure that the TVs are fully secured against kids bumping against them. That, or have an superhero uncle available in the room at all times. [NYT]