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Falling TV Accidents Rising

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LAWTON Okla_ A new study shows one of the growing dangers in the home for children is the television. The danger is not in watching it, but in being crushed by it.

Falling TVs send one child to the emergency room every 30 minutes. It's a number that has increased significantly in the last ten years.

TVs like provide hours of entertainment for children all over the nation, but that fun can turn to horror in a matter of seconds. In fact, in just over 20 years, falling televisions have sent nearly 200,000 kids to the emergency room. Parents have told children for years not to sit too close to the TV. They tell them it's bad for their eyes, but now the concern is whether the TV will fall onto the child.

Jared Williams, the training officer for the Lawton Fire Department said the injuries are serious.

"I've seen lacerations, concussions, and blunt force trauma to the head from the weight of the object," Williams said.

Unfortunately, the number of injuries has been on the rise. Over 12,000 kids went to the hospital for TV-related injuries in 2011, compared to only 5,400 in 1990. So, what's changed? The answer: a multitude of things.

Researchers say 99% of households have at least one TV, and 55% have three or more. When families bring their new flat screen home, they move their old, bulkier TVs like to unsafe places.

"They put it on a dresser, a shelf, or something that wasn't designed to hold that load," Williams said. "Then, it's something usually very climbable for the kids."

When they want to change a channel or reach a toy, that's exactly what they'll do. That climb can end in disaster. The newer, lighter flat screen TVs are just as dangerous. They are front heavy and can easily tip over.

Brian Gosnell, a manager at a local appliance store, said there are ways to stay safe.

"Most of the TVs, especially the newer ones, come with a safety strap attached to the back of the TV and the piece of furniture you set it on," Gosnell said.

Also, mounting the TV is a safe idea, as long as you have it professionally done. Bottom line: do whatever is needed to make sure your child doesn't become a statistic.

"Set it up properly and make sure you read the instructions," Williams said. "Put every piece of safety equipment on it that you can get."

The fire department has made several calls in the last few years of TVs falling on kids here in Lawton. Luckily, none of the accidents were fatal. That's not the case around the nation. The study also revealed that between the years 2000 and 2011, 215 children died of television-related injuries.

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