If you think watching whats on the screen is the only danger your kids face from TV (passive viewing can boost blood pressure of younguns ages 3-8, and 3-year-olds who watch five hours of TV a day some do! are 28 percent more likely to have attention problems at age 7), youre not with the entire program.
Turns out, the set and what its resting on may be just as damaging. In the past 22 years, more than 380,000 kids (the median age was just 3) showed up in emergency rooms because they were injured by falling TVs. And theres been a 344 percent increase in reported injuries (flat screens are to blame, we bet) from 1995 to 2011.
So, for TV viewing safety, heres 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 childs bedroom. Lots of these injuries happen in kids rooms; besides itll disrupt study time and sleep patterns.
2. Wall-mount flat screens; most come with that option. If you cant, anchor the set to the top of the surface its 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, youll all feel better.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.