Author(s): Michael D Cusimano, Nadine Parker
Injuries to children caused by falling televisions have become more frequent during the last decade. These injuries can be severe and even fatal and are likely to become even more common in the future as TVs increase in size and become more affordable. To formulate guidelines for the prevention of these injuries, the authors systematically reviewed the literature on injuries related to toppling televisions. The authors searched MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Scopus, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar according to the Cochrane guidelines for all studies involving children 0–18 years of age who were injured by toppled TVs. Factors contributing to injury were categorized using Haddon’s Matrix, and the public health approach was used as a framework for developing strategies to prevent these injuries. The vast majority (84%) of the injuries occurred in homes and more than three-fourths were unwitnessed by adult caregivers. The TVs were most commonly large and elevated off the ground. Dressers and other furniture not designed to support TVs were commonly involved in the TV-toppling incident. The case fatality rate varies widely, but almost all deaths reported (96%) were due to brain injuries. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 years most frequently suffer injuries to the head and neck, and they are most likely to suffer severe injuries. Many of these injuries require brain imaging and neurosurgical intervention. Prevention of these injuries will require changes in TV design and legislation as well as increases in public education and awareness. Television-toppling injuries can be easily prevented; however, the rates of injury do not reflect a sufficient level of awareness, nor do they reflect an acceptable effort from an injury prevention perspective.