Health & Science

Tip-over Deaths From Unsecured TVs Rising Among Kids

Trauma surgeons in Houston are speaking out publicly after an uptick in accidents involving televisions falling on children. KUHF Health and Science reporter Carrie Feibel has more from one family whose toddler survived.


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It happened on July 21 at their home in Humble.

Jake Garza and his wife were in the kitchen while their young children watched television in the other room.  

“We were putting away our groceries and they were watching TV in our room. And all of a sudden we heard this crash. And my son comes running and he says “Natalie broke the television.” So I ran and I looked, the television was on the floor but I didn’t see Natalie, so I lift the television up and she was underneath it. and she was out, she was completely out.”

Garza works as an EMT. He could see right away that his three-year-old daughter wasn’t breathing. He performed mouth-to-mouth until the ambulance took her to Memorial Hermann.

Dr. John Holcomb is director of the hospital’s trauma institute.

He says three children have died this year from falling televisions, and five have been severely injured, including Natalie.

That’s more than previous years, and the year isn’t even over yet.

And that only counts patients at Memorial Hermann.

“TVs have gotten bigger. They used to be really deep and pretty stable. They’re all really thin now and they fall over easier.”

Sheriff Adrian Garcia joined doctors in calling on parents to secure their televisions. He points out that even hanging flat-screen TVs on the wall does not necessarily solve the problem.

“Too often we are seeing accidents where the TV set is being mounted just straight to the drywall and it’s just a very, very weak substance. And just a small simple pulling of the TV set or the cord can cause that set to come right off the wall and fall on a child or any other person.”

Garcia says parents should use stud finders to properly hang TVs. And Garza urged parents to use security straps, both for the TV and for any furniture it might be placed on top of.  

“Now my eyes are opened, completely, you know. Just to educate everybody on this I think you should strap the televisions down, whether they’re the flat or the heavy ones.”

Nationally, falling TVs, appliances, and furniture caused 45,000 injuries in 2010, and the number has been increasing.

Of the people who died in those accidents, most were children hit by falling TVs.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

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