Parents, be careful. Your big screen TV can be deadly to your kids. No one knows that better than Samara Brinkley. Earlier this month, she dozed off as she was watching cartoons with her 4-year-old daughter, Dominique. She woke up after hearing a loud BOOM and found Dominique lying on the floor, with a pool of blood coming out of the back of her head. Their 27-inch TV had fallen onto her daughter who, sadly, died as a result of her injuries.  

A study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio found that about 17,000 children were rushed to emergency rooms last year after heavy or unstable furniture fell over on them. That’s a 41% increase since 1990. According to MSNBC, the increase correlates with the popularity of bigger, flat-panel TVs that we’re buying, along with less-stable stands and entertainment centers to hold them. Injuries from televisions alone accounted for nearly half of those in the study, and 75% of the victims of falling furniture were kids younger than six years old.

Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, says children that age simply don’t recognize the danger of climbing on furniture. That makes it crucial that parents take steps to secure flat-panel TVs, which have narrow centers of gravity, as well as other top-heavy pieces. So Smith offers these tips:

  • Place television sets low to the ground and near the backs of their stands.
  • Strap televisions and other large furniture to the wall with safety straps or L-brackets.
  • Buy furniture with wide legs or with solid bases.
  • Eliminate a kid’s impulse to climb by not placing items, like toys or the remote control, on top of furniture or the TV. Police believe that Dominique Brinkley was trying to retrieve her Dora the Explorer book from atop the television when it tipped off its stand and fell on her.