Mother: Falling TV deaths '100-percent preventable'

February 13, 2012 3:22:54 PM PST
The mother of a 4-year-old girl who died when a TV set fell on her hopes her family's tragedy will serve as a wake-up call for others.

"It can happen, it can happen to anybody, and the awareness has to be put out there, because this is 100 percent preventable," Yahira Jones went upstairs for just a moment as her daughter, Gianna Hadjis, played downstairs in a family room.

"All I just heard was boom, and she was under the TV," Jones said. The TV that fell was an old tube model that had been placed on a top-heavy table.

The 4-year-old died at the hospital. Gianna's death is the third in a recent rash of tip-over TV incidents in the Chicago area.

"For it to still be happening, it was, it baffled me when I heard two more children, I was like, why, how?" Jones said.

"It's a serious, real, preventable injury," Dr. Alison Tothy, University of Chicago pediatric ER medical director, said. In 2011, her team treated six children who were injured by falling TVs, two of whom died. So far in 2012, there have been five tip-overs and one death.

"Children are curious," Dr. Tothy said. "They don't pay attention necessarily to how high they're climbing and they can get hurt very, very easily."

"The problem won't go away by ignoring it," Nancy Cowles said. She runs Kids in Danger -- a Chicago-based advocacy group pushing for new standards for furniture and television safety.

"We know it's a problem, we know what some of the solutions are and I think it's time just to buckle down and address those issues and make it safer for our children," Cowles said.

"You watch things like this on TV and you say, 'Oh that's such a shame' or 'I'm so sorry' or 'Oh I feel bad for the family,' and you walk away still ignorant and you don't take the proper precautions. This happened to me, it can happen to anybody," Jones said.

Safety experts and advocates are trying to figure out new methods to get the tip-over safety message to parents.