Popular electronics manufacturer Panasonic Corp. is recalling flat-screen
televisions that can fall and injure children. The U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission says
the recall affects 55-inch, flat screen, LED/LCD televisions with tabletop
swivel stands. About 755 were sold in America and about 130 were sold in Canada from
July 2012 through March 2014 for about $1,825 for the television and swivel
stand, the commission said. The TVs were intended for use in hotels, government
buildings and schools. The potentially damaging issue is related to the
mounting screws on the stand loosening, causing the TV to tip over unexpectedly
and cause a fatality, serious injury and serious risk for entrapment that
can harm children. Luckily, no reports of injury or death have been reported so far.
Panasonic issued the recall on January 18, 2018 and says consumers using
the swivel stand should immediately detach it, place the television in
a safe location away from children and contact Panasonic for a free repair
kit. To receive a free repair kit, call Panasonic toll-free at 855-772-8324
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or email
Although TVs are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the tip over accidents
each year in the U.S., they aren’t the only appliance associated
with this household hazard. On average, one child dies every 10 days when
a TV OR furniture falls onto him or her. Many other pieces of furniture
that can become top heavy like bookshelves, dressers, or appliances that
sit on kitchen counter tops can easily become a major tip and fall risk
to the children in your home.
1) Televisions and Large Furniture
The high majority (70 percent) of tip over accidents that happen in the
U.S. involve a television or large furniture like bookcases and shelving
units. According to a new
CPSC study, when a television falls from an average size dresser, it can fall with
the force of thousands of pounds and sometimes that dresser will fall
with the TV. Even if you have purchased a safe sturdy dresser and bookcase
from a reputable furniture store, it can still be harmful. Children like
to use the dresser drawers as a ladder so that they can reach an item
(like a TV button or remote) that is too high for them. Even if you have
explained that climbing is dangerous to your child, a parent should not
trust that a young, curious child will understand or remember their safety lesson.
2) Dressers and Tables
These tip over hazards include short chests with drawers, tall dressers,
tables, open facing units with shelves and/or doors and more. Even if
a small dresser is heavy enough or doesn’t have much space to fall,
it is still a hazard for a young child. When a child opens even one drawer
and climbs on it, the center of gravity changes and the furniture could
tip over. The same goes for tables like nightstands. 46 percent of tip-over
fatalities occur in a bedroom.
Small refrigerators, computers, and kitchen appliances that sit on counter
tops or tables account for a small percentage (4 percent) of tip over
accidents and fatalities as well. Be sure you are tucking away any electrical
cords that could easily get stuck on a moving chair, toy, or child’s
arm. Push all appliances back firmly against a wall and out of easily
accessible spots. Get rid of appliances you don’t use or store them
in an alternative location.
Wagner Reese attorneys have covered this topic many times on the blog,
but we want to remind you again to protect your loved ones with these
TV and furniture tip over prevention tips.
First, assess the stability of the TVs in your home. Mount flat screen
TVs to the wall to reduce the risk of TVs toppling off stands and follow
the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you protect your wall
and have a secure fit for the right size TV. If you have a heavier, box-style
cathode ray tube (CRT) TV place it on a low, stable piece of furniture
that is appropriate for the TV’s size and weight.
The U.S. electronics recycling industry processes about 4 million tons
of used and end-of-life electronics equipment each year. More than 70
percent of the collected gadgets can be recycled, recovering items such
as plastic, steel, aluminum, copper, gold and silver to be used in new
products. Connect with your city or county’s recycling center and
ask how to dispose of your old TVs.
Anchor the furniture in master bedrooms and other rooms, not just the nursery
or play room. Use brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or
top-heavy furniture to the wall. Install stops on dresser drawers to prevent
them from being pulled all the way out. Multiple open drawers can cause
the weight to shift, making it easier for a dresser to fall. Always follow
the directions included with the particular anchor or anti-tip device
you are installing. Follow all manufacturer’s guidelines for safety.
Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers. Remove tempting
items, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of dressers, TVs
and other large furniture.
If you know of a child who was killed or seriously injured by a furniture
or appliance tip over accident, the Indianapolis-based
product liability and
wrongful death attorneys at Wagner Reese will fight for the compensation the family deserves.
Our initial consultations are always free, and we never collect fees from
you until your case is settled or won. Connect with us by
submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information. If you wish to speak directly
with us, please call (888) 204-8440.