According to a new paper published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, children are suffering an increasing number of severe head and neck injuries due to falling TVs. The rate of these injuries has increased over the past decade and is expected to continue to increase as TVs become both larger and more affordable.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) released a study earlier this year indicating that there are approximately 15,400 emergency room visits each year due to falling TVs. Between 2010 and 2012 there were 51 fatalities from falling TVs, 45 of which were children between the ages of 1 and 4. About three-quarters of the injuries occurred when there was no parent or caregiver in the room.

Head and neck injuries are most common from falling TVs because toddlers are shorter than most TV stands, meaning that their head is the first object the TV hits when it falls. Both older CRT televisions and newer flat-screen TVs are involved in fatalities. Tests by the CPSC found that CRT televisions dropped from a height of 36 inches hit with an average force of 12,703 pounds, while flat-screen TVs hit with 2,100 pounds or less, still a sizable impact on a small child.

Recommendations from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Consumer Electronics Association, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the author of this new study include:

  • Secure your TV. Make sure older CRT televisions are on a low, stable piece of furniture appropriate for the TV’s size and weight. Mount flat-panel televisions to the wall.
  • Recycle old TVs that are rarely used. The org site can help you locate a nearby recycling facility.
  • Do not place TVs on unstable surfaces. Use furniture that is designed for use as a TV stand.
  • Do not place toys or other objects that children, especially toddlers, find desirable on top of the TV.
  • Do not leave a child unattended in a room with a television.

The federal government also has an Anchor It! site on how to secure furniture.