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Falling TVs a Growing Threat for Kids

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MSNBC: Samara Brinkley dozed off just for a moment as she was watching cartoons on TV with her 4-year-old daughter.

Then "I heard the boom, and I woke up and I [saw] my child laying on the floor, and I [saw] a pool of blood coming out in the back of her head," said Brinkley, 26, of Jacksonville, Fla.

Dymounique Wilson, one of Brinkley's two daughters, died last Wednesday when the family's 27-inch television fell over on her.

Nearly 17,000 children were rushed to emergency rooms in 2007, the last year for which complete figures were available, after heavy or unstable furniture fell over on them, a new study reported this month. The study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that the such injuries had risen 41 percent since 1990.

The increase correlated with the popularity of ever-bigger flat-panel televisions that Americans have brought into their homes in that time, along with the entertainment centers and narrow, less-stable stands to hold them. Injuries from televisions alone accounted for nearly half of all injuries related to falling furniture during the study period -- 47 percent.

Three-quarters of the victims of falling furniture are younger than 6 years old, and children that age "simply don't recognize the danger of climbing on furniture," said Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

That makes it imperative that parents take steps to secure flat-panel TVs, which have narrow centers of gravity, and other top-heavy pieces, said Yvonne Holguin-Duran, a child safety specialist with University Health System in San Antonio, Texas.

"If we just take one glance around our house, [parents can] see what safety dangers on their level these children can get into," Holguin-Duran said.

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