The Tipping Point: Unsecured television can cause grave danger to children

(WMC-TV) - More than 62 percent of all televisions purchased this year have screens of 40-inch screens or larger, and with the growing size of televisions come the growing trend of tip-overs.

Jenny Barton's life changed in an instant when she discovered her then 7-year-old daughter unconscious and bleeding from the ear after she was crushed beneath the TV in her bedroom.

"She was just in the floor just like she was peaceful," Barton said. "She was dead...that was all I could imagine, was that she was dead."

Brooklyn Barton had pulled out all the drawers from her dresser, and stood on the bottom drawer to get a pair of socks. Her weight brought down the 27-inch-TV sitting on top of the dresser.

"That's the only thing I remember," Brooklyn said.

An ambulance rushed Brooklyn to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, where she stayed in an induced coma for the next three weeks as experts treated her for serious head trauma.

"The doctors there told us you will have to re-teach her just like a brand new baby. You are going to have to teach her to walk, to talk. She may not know who you are," Jenny Barton said.

Doctor Barry Gilmore says injuries like Brooklyn's, caused by over-sized TVs or furniture, are more common than you might think.

"Since 1990 there have been about a quarter of a million children that have been injured by falling furniture or televisions. That translates to 14,000 a year, 40 a day, and 300 will die each year," Gilmore said. "Some that has to do with just furniture sizes. It also has a lot to do with the fact that we really like big screen televisions nowadays. Those are a lot more unstable."

Since the accident, the Bartons have done some re-arranging in their house. Now, instead of leaning on furniture, televisions are mounted to the wall to prevent anyone from pulling them down. Securing TVs to a wall or other solid surface drastically reduces the chance of injury.

"For your young children, let's not put things up around the television that they may want to be getting. Don't put their toys up there," Gilmore said.

Brooklyn was lucky. Her injuries were less severe than doctors initially thought, and she did not have to learn how to walk or talk again. Still, she has endured multiple surgeries, and her vocal chords are currently paralyzed.

"Even though it has been two years, I still thank the Lord our daughter was able to come out from it," her mother said.


- Do you have furniture in YOUR home putting your child at risk of injury or death? Take this quiz (click here)

- How to secure a Flat Screen TV to a wooden stand - click here.

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