By Gary Shapiro and Kate Carr
Unless you're holding a ticket to this weekend's Super Bowl, your TV will give you the best seat at the big game. In fact, every season, the Super Bowl gives fans a great reason to upgrade their TVs. Last year, nearly a quarter of high-definition (HD) TV owners purchased new sets ahead of the Super Bowl, according to research from the Consumer Electronics Association®.
The perfect picture, however, shouldn't be the only factor if you're considering adding a new TV to your home. That old cathode ray tube (CRT) TV you're thinking about swapping out is awfully heavy and, chances are, it might be sitting on furniture that's too tall or unstable for such a big set.
As a result, your kids could be in danger of a horrible CRT accident. On average, every three weeks a child dies from injuries from a falling TV. And every 45 minutes a child is injured by a falling TV. Yet surprisingly, many people don't recognize how dangerous TV tip-overs can be.
Although we've seen a 31 percent increase in injuries related to TVs falling on children over the last decade, a recent report by Safe Kids Worldwide revealed only 27 percent of parents are aware that TV tip-overs present a real hazard to their children. But these accidents are certainly preventable, once parents recognize the threat of TV tip-overs.
You can avoid these tragedies by properly securing your TV, whether it's an old CRT set you've had forever or a brand new HDTV you're just bringing home. A properly mounted HDTV won't damage your wall or fall over, and there are plenty of helpful installation tutorials online. Purchase mounting hardware when you buy your new screen and make safety a priority in your purchase. Mounting supplies are not very expensive and are well worth the up-front cost.
As for your old CRT TV, one that might be resting on a dresser in the guest bedroom or in a basement rec room, make sure the set is securely placed on a low, even, stable surface. And if you don't use it anymore, consider recycling your CRT. Because the glass tubes contain lead and other hazardous materials, it's illegal to simply throw out old CRTs in many states. Fortunately, recycling is becoming simpler, as more organizations are able to take old TVs and dispose of them safely.
As parents, we want to keep our homes as safe as possible, which means always being aware of how we mitigate potential accidents. As the Super Bowl proves, no matter whom you're rooting for, your TV can provide both entertainment and quality time for the entire family. But take the necessary precautions to secure your set; the safety of your children and your own peace of mind are well worth the time and effort.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling books Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro.
Kate Carr is president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, one million children die of an injury each year, and almost every one of these tragedies is preventable. Join the effort at safekids.org, and connect on Twitter: @safekidsusa.