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Tipping television: a growing American child safety hazard

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The Greeley Tribune/AP

(Read caption) Tipping televisions are causing increasing injuries and deaths of children in the US – particularly kids from ages 1 to 4 who do a lot of furniture climbing, says the Centers for Disease Control.

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When I lived in South Africa in the late 2000s, I heard a lot of worries about the growing collection of health problems people were noticing among children, who, as a group, were becoming increasingly overweight.

They had a name for this phenomenon. It was called “The American Disease.”

I couldn’t help thinking about that today as I read about another, new, American public health concern: Death, literally, by television. 

Although the number of children killed by unintentional injury – the No. 1 cause of death for American kids ages 1 to 19 – fell by nearly 30 percent over the past decade, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a record number of American kids in 2011 were killed by falling televisions.

In a report released this week, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said that 29 children in the US were killed by falling televisions in 2011, while 12 more were killed by tipping furniture and other appliances.


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