Boy s death sparks home safety alert
Boy's death sparks home safety alert

An increasing number of WA children are being injured by televisions and Kidsafe is urging parents to recognise serious safety risks in homes.

The safety organisation said the death of five-year-old Collie boy Peter Gelissen, who was killed when an old-style television toppled from a chest of drawers on Tuesday, was probably the first of its type in the State.

Princess Margaret Hospital recorded 46 injuries to children involving televisions in 2010-2011, up from 39 in 2009-2010, though the number of injuries caused by televisions falling on children dropped from 17 to 13 in that time.

Other injuries included, cuts, bruises and breaks from sharp edges and bumping into TVs.

Kidsafe chief executive Scott Phillips urged parents to be aware of risks posed by falling furniture, especially big and flat-screen televisions.

"The incident is a tragic reminder to parents of the hidden dangers within their home," Mr Phillips said.

"Quite often these things aren't obvious until something happens.

"We don't want parents to think this was a negligent act - it's just something you don't expect to happen.

"It's really important for parents to do that double-check of furniture and TVs in the home and to check they are secure and there is nothing that can topple on a small child."

Items should never be put on televisions because of climbing risks, he said.

Mr Phillips said there was anecdotal evidence that injuries from televisions were increasing as flat-screen models became more popular.

"Anecdotally, it looks like flat screens topple much easier and are toppling more in the home," he said.

"Tragically, 40 children a year die from an unintended injury, most of those in cars, in WA alone.

"That's a classroom full of children who don't make it to the next Christmas."

Toppling televisions killed four children in Australia between 2000 and 2009, Kidsafe said.

Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said the consumer group had raised concerns about stability safety standards for televisions in 2008.

Ms Just urged parents to buy a proper stand or cabinet for their television and to anchor screens and furniture to the wall.

Standards Australia recommends using only furniture that can safely support the television and ensuring the television does not overhang the edge of supporting furniture.

Children should be warned not to climb on furniture to reach a television or its controls.

The West Australian

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