University Park girl, 4, killed by falling TV

January 14, 2012 10:00:00 PM PST
A 4-year-old died girl after a television fell on her head in University Park.

Gianna Hadjis is the third child killed by a falling TV set in the area in three months.

"I saw her myself. I held her in my arms. I'm still in shock," Adam Hadjis said. Hadjis says he is not blaming anyone for his daughter's death. Gianna was playing in the basement of a University Park home when the older model TV fell on her.

"I would have never thought in a million years that I would lose my baby - especially like this," said Yahira Jones, Gianna's mother. She says she took her eyes off of Gianna for no more than a couple of minutes when she heard a crash in the basement of her boyfriend's house.

"They heard a loud bang and they rushed downstairs and apparently there was a round table with a very narrow base so it made the table very top-heavy," Hadjis said. "My guess is she was hanging from the table and her weight on the edge of the table brought the TV down."

"She was a climber - I used to call her my little spider monkey," said Yahira Jones Monday.

Gianna is the third child in the last few months to be killed by a falling television in the Chicagoland area. Accidents caused by falling televisions seem to be a growing trend. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2000 and 2010 at least 169 children ages 8 or younger were killed after a TV fell on them. Around 13,700 children were hospitalized for the same reason.

"I have a 2-year-old grandson and I tell you, if you don't keep your eye on these kids every single second anything can possibly happen. Not to say that there was any negligence, but anything can happen," University Park Police Chief Melvin Davis said.

Gianna's father says he hopes news of his daughter's death will prevent future accidents. Gianna is already helping to save at least one life. Her parents decided to donate her heart.

"My daughter was way ahead of her time. She loved everyone and everything," Hadjis said. "I hope that little girl or boy cherishes that piece of my daughter and can lead a full, happy, successful life."

Deaths caused by older CRT televisions, like the one that fell onto Gianna Hadjis, usually happen when these are placed on furniture other than TV stands or when people try to protect the furniture's surface with a towel or felt feet.

"All it takes is a small tilt and that TV's gonna want to come with me," said Brian Eble of Peerless AV. His company sells furniture and mounts as well as safety braces to keep flat-screen television sets from falling.

The most important thing regarding safety around CRT televisions is to not be fooled into thinking that just because these televisions are bigger and heavier they can't fall. They need to be secured, just the same.

"With CRT accidents, it's the furniture that tips - if it tips more than a 10-degree angle, the TV's probably going to come off," said Eble.

Karl Clermont, 6, died when a TV fell on him October 30 in the 1700-block of Portsmith Lane in Arlington Heights, and Shaniya Singleton, 3, was killed November 8 when a TV fell on her at her home in the 7800-block of South Union Avenue.