GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — An old TV stand is kept around the house, serving as a reminder to Danielle Henchcliffe, after a 32-inch box television fell off the stand onto her then-4-year-old son Stanley back in 2013. “He put his feet [in the drawer] and started rocking the drawer and that’s what made that TV fall,” his mother explained.
Henchcliffe thought Stanley was already asleep, until she and her husband heard a crashing sound come from his room. “He wasn’t responding and he started turning blue,” she remembered. Stanley was in a coma for five days and suffered a traumatic brain injury. To this day, he still struggles with sleep issues and magnified symptoms of autism, but the seven year old is alive.
Stanley’s mother doesn’t take chances anymore and now bolts her son’s television to the wall where he can’t reach. Henchcliffe wants other parents to know the dangers, especially after a recent scare out of Utah where a camera caught a dresser falling on top of twins boys.
Dell Children’s Medical Center says there are precautions parents can take before an accident happens. “What we recommend is you use some sort of tether on the back of it,” explains Stewart Williams, manager of the Injury Prevention Program with Dell Children’s Medical Center. Williams says it’s a good idea to anchor your book shelves, televisions and dressers. Keeping drawers closed and latched is another preventative measure, that way children can’t climb them.
Experts also recommend you keep heavier items on bottom shelves, lower to the ground. If there’s something appealing to a child, they say just put it out of sight. If you place it somewhere high, children may try to climb to get to that item.
Henchcliffe says she’s more aware of these recommendations after what happened to Stanley, and she has a warning for other parents: “Don’t think it can’t happen to you because I thought that. I was ignorant. All it takes is two seconds and your whole world can be ripped away from you.”
A Consumer Product Safety Commission study found tipping furniture sends more than 38,000 people to the emergency room every year. Two-thirds of them are children under 5 years old. The study also found a child dies every two weeks from being crushed by a piece of furniture.