Photo courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide
by Amanda Griffin
As the Community Activities Coordinator at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, I wear many hats. Serving as Coordinator for Safe Kids Upstate NY Coalition is one my favorite hats. Safe Kids is a community group led by Upstate GCH that advocates for preventing unintentional injuries to kids. Our coalition and its members host various outreach events throughout the community including: car seat checks, bicycle helmet giveaways, sports safety clinics and pedestrian safety activities just to name a few. Our goal is to share important information and education with parents and caregivers on preventing injuries to kids. In my role, I am reminded daily of all of the potential risks that can lead to injuries and even death to children. Like most parents, I am always trying to keep up with any new information and ways to keep my kids safe. There are practices that I, like many parents, am automatically aware of either through common sense, instinct or laws which are in place to keep kids safe. For example, as a parent of three young children, I know that all of my kids need to ride in car seats, must wear a helmet when riding their bicycles, we have plug covers in our outlets and keep all medicine out of reach of our kids. But even in my role at the Children’s Hospital, I am often reminded of many lesser known threats…
Last month at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Radiothon for Kids I met and listened to a mother who was interviewed on-air about her daughter’s recent death. She had lost her daughter from a tragic accident, their television and the cabinet it was in had toppled over on her. Listening to this interview, I was amazed at the strength this mother had and her desire to share her story in an effort to prevent this accident from happening to other families in our community. That evening, I spoke with my husband about our televisions and how they are set-up. Her heart breaking interview reminded me that this type of accident could easily happen in anyone’s home, including my own.
Safe Kids Upstate NY is spreading the word to remind all parents and caregivers of this threat and how we can all make our homes safer by preventing TV tip-overs. Safe Kids USA recently released the following statistics and tips as part of their nationwide television and furniture tip-over campaign:
- Every three weeks, a child dies from a TV tipping over
- Nearly 13,000 more children are injured by tip-overs each year in the U.S.
- Every 45 minutes, less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child is sent to the emergency department due to a TV tip-over.
- Injuries from TV tip-overs have risen by 31% over the last ten years
- Seven out of ten children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 years old or younger.
Here are precautions you can take to prevent your child from becoming injured or killed from a television tip-over:
TV Safety Check
- Assess the stability of the TVs in your home.
- Mount flat screen TVs to the wall to reduce the risk of TVs toppling off stands.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you have a secure fit.
- If you have a large, heavy, old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) TV, place it on a low, stable piece of furniture.
- Use brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or top-heavy furniture to the wall.
- Install stops on dresser drawers to prevent them from being pulled all the way out. Multiple open drawers can cause the weight to shift, making it easier for a dresser to tip-over.
Rearrange Household Items
- Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
- Avoid placing remote controls, food, toys or other items in places where kids might be tempted to climb up or reach for them.
Please take the time to review your home and make any suggested changes as noted above to child proof it. Be sure to spread the word with others who care for children in their homes; babysitters, grandparents and friends so that they are aware of possible dangers. For more information on preventing tip-overs and other safety programs visit: