Falling TV kills 3-year-old girl

November 9, 2011 (CHICAGO)

This is the second deadly accident of its kind in the Chicago area in the last 10 days. A 6-year-old Arlington Heights boy was killed when just over a week ago.

The latest victim is a 3-year-old girl in Chicago's Englewood community. While tragedies involving falling televisions are not uncommon, there are measures parents can take to remove the risk.

Police say 3-year-old Shaniya Singleton was in an upstairs bedroom when there was a loud crash and the little girl was found with a fatal wound from a 27-inch old tube-style television. it was on a stand but not anchored... an unseen hazard that is claiming far too many lives.

"Kids are so fast," said grandmother Johnnie Sibley. "Sometimes it is just hard to keep an eye on them every minute."

Chicago police say the television was on in an upstairs bedroom Tuesday at 5:55 p.m. when the accident occurred. Little Shaniya was playing with a sibling when it fell on her head.

"She was a beautiful little girl. She had God's spirit in her," said relative Randy Sharp.

A falling television claimed the life of 6-year-old Karl Clermont of Arlington Heights on October 30. Police say, in that case, the child climbed up on the TV to get something. The TV buckled and fell on the little boy. It was so heavy his babysitter could not lift it off him

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in September spearheaded a public push to secure televisions, especially the old tube-style that can typically weigh as much as 10 times more than a similar-screen sized flat screen. One-hundred-sixty-nine children across the U.S. died in television-related mishaps in the last decade.

"Seventy percent of all television, appliance and furniture tip-overs are involved with televisions alone," said CPSC's Patty Davis. "We know that it is a hazard...anchor that television to the wall."

At Abt Electronics, customers recycle their old televisions, usually still-working models that fill one of the store's 53-foot trailers every day. The retailer worries that safety might be ignored just because the new sets seem not to pose the same kind of danger as older ones.

"A lot of people are keeping the old TV, throw it in basement, second bedroom...We sell thousands of TVs, and to have something like this happen is terrible," said Abt's Steve Shapiro.

"Our data shows that regardless of the type of TV you have, it can fall if you don't have it secured correctly and injure your child or kill your child," said Davis.

Two of Shaniya's siblings were taken from the home by child welfare authorities after the accident. The family had prior contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The TV was on a stand and was not secured. The CPSC says the majority of fatalities involving furniture and/or TVs involved a chest, dresser, or a bureau. Often, these pieces of furniture have drawers that children can use to climb.

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