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Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #083 Televisions can be dangerous
September 01, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Baby Medical Q&A News.

This month I am going to focus on just one thing - Televisions can be dangerous

  • Injuries
  • Risk for Obesity


A recent review in Pediatrics journal looked at television injuries over a period from 1990 to 2011 and over that period there was an over 95% increase in the rate of injury!! Over 17,000 children every year in the US seek medical attention because of an injury caused by a television.
The majority of the children were under 4 years of age. You know the toddler who is inquisitive and loves to explore and climb.

Injuries mostly affected the head and neck. Most injuries were due to the television falling on the child.

In the earthquake in 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the fatalaties was an infant who was killed when the television fell on him. Fortunately, most injuries are not fatal, but most people are unaware that their television is a potential source of injury for their children.

So, for this month, my message is short and clear:

  • Is your television safe?
  • Do you need to add some anchoring device to prevent it falling?
  • Is the television on a chest of drawers - this will become unstable when the drawers are open.


Obesity Risk

There are many studies that have shown that increased television viewing is a risk for obesity. This may be due to a number of factors, including less physical activity and also the fact that children often snack while watching television or on computer games.

For this reason, pediatric organisations recommend no more than 2 hours television viewing/computer game playing per day. We also recommend at least 60 minutes physical activity per day.

  • Steven L. Gortmaker, PhD; Aviva Must, PhD; Arthur M. Sobol, AM; Karen Peterson, RD, ScD; Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; William H. Dietz, MD, PhD Television Viewing as a Cause of Increasing Obesity Among Children in the United States, 1986-1990

  • Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(4):356-362. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170290022003. Reducing Children's Television Viewing to Prevent ObesityA Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA. 1999;282(16):1561-1567. doi:10.1001/jama.282.16.1561.

So, please make sure your television is safe. Think about how much television your child watches. Keep it to less than 2 hours per day. If your child loves computer games / television, then consider one of the interactive games where they have to be physical.

Till next time

Please feel free to share this ezine with family and friends.

Till next time,

Dr Maud

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