Stilwell boy's accident with TV is not considered uncommon

A 4-year-old boy in Stilwell who suffered a serious injury Thursday when a television fell on him is among many children hurt or killed in such accidents.

“It’s more common than anyone thinks possible,” said Daina Hodges, outreach coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas.

Between 2000 and 2006, there were at least 180 deaths related to tipped-over furniture, televisions or appliances, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates.

Most of those deaths — 80 percent — involved children under age 10, and in 2007 the commission said such accidents were among the top five hidden home hazards.

Televisions especially have evolved into major hazards as they evolved from big machines that sat on floors to become lighter and more unstable pieces of electronics, Hodges said.

New televisions often come with instructions on how to wire them or strap them to a wall, she said, but many people do not do it.

Safe Kids Kansas, a nonprofit coalition of organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidents involving children, issued a press release in February warning of the dangers of appliances and furniture.

Among safety commission data it cited: In 2006, there were 19,300 injuries associated with product instability or tip-overs involving children younger than 10—almost half of all such accidents reported that year.

It is not clear exactly how the Stilwell boy was injured. Johnson County deputies said an older model heavy television fell screen-side down on his head as he climbed up on a counter. Deputies said he was in critical condition Thursday and there was no word on his condition Friday.

They said there was nothing criminal about the accident. Adults were in the home and the boy had been watching television with his brother.

Among safety tips in the Safe Kids press release earlier this year:

Teach children not to climb or jump on furniture and push the television as far back as possible from the front of its stand.

Fasten unstable or top-heavy furniture or appliances to a wall using brackets, screws or wall straps.

Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers and don’t keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables.

Tie up loose electrical cords so a child pulling or tripping on them does not pull a television or other appliance off a stand.