As people get ready to gather around the television for big events like the Super Bowl and Olympics, experts want you to take an extra step to prepare for the party. And, this one will make your home safer for kids throughout the year.
It started as any Sunday for Sarah Kuyrkendall. She says, “We were going to go to Ledges with my sister, so I made breakfast.”
Two-year-old Aleena and four-year-old Ariana were watching television. She says, “It was after Dinosaur Train. It was Angelina Ballerina.”
That’s when young Aleena started playing with the old 42 inch set. Kuyrkendall says, “And, she was being ornery, blocking the TV from Ariana. And, Ariana goes, ‘Mom, Sissy’s blocking the TV, and I can’t see.”
That was Sunday, August 12, 2012 when Kuyrkendall’s world came crashing down. “I was holding out my arms. I was going to take her little fingers and wrap it around mine, you know, and, that fast, right in front of my face.”
Aleena accidentally pulled the television off the stand and onto her. She died three months later.
In her honor, family and friends hand out flyers to raise awareness about TV tip overs. Showing one, Kuyrkendall says, “I had them put Aleena’s story on the back because when you see her face, it’s going to make you want to read it. And, to hear what happened, I felt hopefully it would touch their heart”
TV tip overs are preventable and Saturday, February 1st is a national day designated for TV safety by a group called Safe Kids World Wide. Janna Day with Safe Kids Great Des Moines says, “The idea behind it is it kind of coincides with Super Bowl when a lot of us will be in our homes watching TV, so it gets you thinking about how important it is to be sure your TV is safe.”
She says new flat panel televisions need to be mounted on the wall, or secured with a safety strap. Older sets need to be secured on a low piece of furniture no higher than your knee. Or, get it out of your home and recycle it through greenergadgets.org.
Jessica LaCroix with Blank Children’s Hospital Safety Store says, “It’s a form of childproofing, just like you wouldn’t bring a child home from the hospital without a car seat, and you would use toddler gates with stairs, it’s important to stabilize your TV to prevent a tip over.”
Kuyrkendall says, “It’s preventable, and the fact that a $15 strap could have saved her life. It kills me, it just does.”
You can find the safety straps at many retail stores. The Safety Store at Blank Children’s Hospital recently started selling the straps for $10, which is below retail price. The Safety Store is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s located in the lower lever of the Anna Blank Building Center for Advocacy and Outreach.
You can find more information about Television and Furniture safety at safekids.org.