If you think watching what's on the screen is the only danger your kids face from TV (passive viewing can boost blood pressure of young'uns ages 3-8, and 3-year-olds that watch five hours of TV a day - some do! - are 28 percent more likely to have attention problems at age 7), you're not with the entire program!
Turns out, the set and what it's resting on may be just as damaging. In the past 22 years, more than 380,000 kids younger than 18 (the median age was just 3) showed up in emergency rooms because they were injured by falling TVs. And there's been a 344 percent increase in reported injuries (flat screens are to blame, we bet) from 1995 to 2011!
So, for TV viewing safety, here's our list of smart steps:
1. Limit screen time to two hours a day for kids 12 and younger. And never put a TV in a child's bedroom. Lots of these injuries happen in kids' rooms; besides it'll disrupt study-time and sleep patterns.
2. Wall-mount flat screens; most come with that option. If you can't, anchor the set to the top of the surface it's on. You can buy kits and floor stands that clamp them securely. Make sure no amount of tugging or roughhousing can knock it over!
3. Best of all: Turn off the TV and head outside to play with your child. Run, skip rope, take a walk. If you make family activities a part of every day, you'll all feel better.
© King Features Syndicate