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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Televisions toppling onto children are causing an increasing number of severe head and neck injuries, according to a new study.

“Parents have to be aware that TVs can seriously harm children,” said lead author Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “But these injuries are highly predictable and preventable.”

The researchers analyzed 29 studies that looked at TV-related head and neck injuries in seven different countries. They found that 84 percent of reported injuries occurred at home, and a full three-fourths of these injuries were not seen by adult caregivers.

Children between one and three years old appear to be at highest risk, say the researchers. Their injuries are usually more severe than those suffered by older children. Most injuries occur when toddlers climb onto furniture to retrieve objects such as toys, or when they bump into unstable TV stands, causing the TVs to fall on top of them.

“TVs are often placed on unstable bases, placed on high furniture like dressers, which aren’t designed for TVs, or not properly secured to the wall,” Cusimano explained. “Meanwhile, parents are getting busier and busier and don’t have as much time to supervise children, so it’s not surprising that these injuries are getting reported more often.”

The authors recommend parents push TVs away from the edge of a stand or table and warn their children about the dangers.

They also would like to see the industry redesign TV stands and make it easier for consumers to anchor their TVs to the wall.

Between 2008-2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said 19,200 children in this country were hurt by falling TVs, up from 16,500 from 2006-2008.

The study is published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

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