Is My New Flat Screen Television Dangerous?



Home screen entertainment technology has gotten so good over the last few years that televisions are thinner than most picture frames and clearer than some of us see in reality. This is a far cry from the clunky, boxy, huge televisions that were practically a piece of furniture.

Now the family can sit in their living room, pop on the 3D glasses with a theater-like experience. However, as with any new technology, new problems and dangers arise. It seems that as things change so must we change the way we perceive and interact with the technology. Recently, this has become a massive concern for parents around the country after reports of the new generations of televisions killing children around the Chicago area.

Pedestal Televisions and Children

If you haven’t read the news about these incidents in Chicago, in a matter of two weeks, five large flat screen pedestal televisions toppled onto small children, killing four of them and seriously injuring a fourth. Authorities point to inadequate bases and/or unstable furniture.

However, Chicago isn’t the only place this has been reported. Across the country, reports are cropping up bringing industry representatives and consumer regulatory officials to attention. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that every other week, a child dies in the United States when a television, a piece of furniture or an appliance falls on him.

Why does this keep happening?

Televisions are getting larger, but unlike their boxy ancestors, this doesn’t necessarily mean they increase exponentially in weight. They do a little bit, but what hasn’t caught up is a way to have a small enough base for normal furniture, but still keep these top heavy behemoths from toppling.

Some people choose to wall mount them as a solution, but keep in mind that the technology is much newer than most houses whose builders didn’t intend anyone to hang a 50 to 100 lb picture from the wall and then plug it in. If parents think that this is saving their children from anything, even the wall-mounted televisions have fallen on children.

The CPSC asking parents to join a panel of experts at 7 p.m. tonight and use the hashtag #TVSafety. The advisers will include Nancy Cowles from Kids in Danger and Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy (part of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio) as well as CPSC officials.

They’re requesting that parents to send in pictures of how their television and other bulky furniture are placed in the home so the experts can offer specific safety tips!

For those who cant attend, CPSC offers these tips for securing televisions and other large pieces of furniture:

  • Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
  • Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid setting them on flimsy shelves.
  • Push the TV as far back as possible.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.
  • Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking over the TV.
  • Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

Wall Mounted Televisions and Fireplaces

Do you watch HGTV on your new giant flat screen television? Have you taken some of the designers advice and mounted your television above a fireplace? Well, as far as being a nice aesthetic choice, safety experts are concerned about the hazards that this design practice poses.

You see, mounting the television over a heat source has been found to seriously lower the life span of the television. They seem to run hot anyway, but they also are highly sensitive to temperature and are so thin that they have little space for this heat to go before effecting screen quality.

But there is also a safety concern for this practice. Since these televisions can run as hot as 100 degrees they can pose an extra threat to an already heated area. Here are some suggestions:

  • With a fire going, test how hot the wall above gets hot from within the wall.
  • Again with a fire, test how hot the wall above gets.
  • Run the television and test how hot the unit gets after about two to three hours of use. (please keep in mind that this temp could increase by as much as 10 to 20 degrees as the television ages)
  • If the combined heat is over 120 degrees and up to 200 degrees depending on outer temperature, then this could melt plastic and cause metal on wall mountings to potentially loose integrity.

What can be done?

  • Install a deep mantle so that heat from the fireplace goes up and past the television.
  • Tip the television slightly down from the top to allow it to breath.
  • Install a gas fireplace.
  • Have all electrical and mountings installed by a professional who is bonded and insured

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or your child suffers serious personal injuries caused by a falling television due then you should find a skilled lawyer with a proven track record of success in personal injury law right away. Call Phillips Law Firm for a free consultation.