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February 24, 2013

Tipping TVs injure growing number of kids

Three-year-old Meghan Lamb just wanted her sticker book.

Her mother, after tucking her into bed, put the colorful book with stickers of pretty bracelets, earrings and necklaces, on top of Meghan’s new bedroom dresser. The toddler, still wanting to play, slipped out of bed, opened the drawers of the 100-pound wooden dresser and started to climb.

“Ten minutes later I heard the biggest crashing sound I ever heard in my life,” remembers Meghan’a mother, Melissa Lamb, 37, of Attleboro. “She was pinned from the neck down. I thought for sure she was paralyzed or had some internal damage. It had fallen directly on her.”

Meghan, now 7, escaped unharmed, something her mother considers a miracle. She was lucky.

So was 3-year-old Jayvien Ramos of Haverhill.

Last year, the toddler was reaching for his pacifier on top of the TV sitting on a small table in the living room when the TV came crashing down on his head.

He was admitted to the hospital for blood clots but released the next day. His mother threw out the older, heavy TV that fell on him.

Some 25,400 children have been hurt nationwide in furniture tip-overs between 2009 and 2011, according to a recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). An additional 41 people, mostly children, were killed in 2011 by falling furniture; the highest number the CPSC has recorded and a 52 percent increase over two years.

Falling dressers, bookcases and televisions, never thought of as lethal home hazards, have killed at least five New England children since 2007, including one in Massachusetts. A sampling of five Massachusetts hospitals found almost 100 children since that same time have been admitted to pediatric trauma units for injuries sustained when furniture or TV’s have tipped over onto them.

Those involved in monitoring these incidents believe the problem is severely under-reported because many emergency rooms and clinics do not break out the precise nature of the accidents on medical records or death certificates.

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