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More Kids Being Hurt by Falling Furniture
Date:5/4/2009

Researcher calls for parental diligence and new safety regulations,,,,

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- It was the scariest moment of Charlene Stevenson's life as a mother.

Last March, her 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter were playing in her bedroom while she got dressed in the bathroom.

Stevenson heard a crash. She looked up to see a 60-pound TV and a dresser lying on top of her daughter. Her son, Michael, was lying nearby, crying but otherwise motionless. Blood was trickling from his ear.

Her daughter suffered only minor injuries. But the TV had landed on her son's head, fracturing his skull in two places. The injury damaged his hearing and injured the nerve that controls facial expressions on his left side.

"I was 25 feet from them, and it happened so fast," said Stevenson, a Plain City, Ohio, mother of five children ages 8 months to 16 years. "When I looked at my dresser, I would never have thought it would have fallen over."

Between 1990 and 2007, an estimated 264,200 U.S. children were treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries caused by furniture tipping, about 15,000 each year, according to a study published in the May online issue of Clinical Pediatrics.

About 300 children died of their injuries.

And since the early 1990s, the number of children injured by falling TVs, shelves and dressers has risen 41 percent, according to the study's analysis of data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The researchers said they aren't sure what has led to the increase. Possibilities might include changes in furniture or TV design or more furniture in homes, or the statistical change could stem from parents taking children to a hospital more readily than they did years ago.

"What we do know is there's a trend we need to pay attention to," said Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Pol
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