After falling TV nearly kills her daughter, mother issues warning to others


A mother has been sharing a cautionary tale for all parents, describing the moments her daughter narrowly escaped death when an old television fell on top of her.

Last month, 4-year-old Ahriana Sonnentag climbed on a dresser in the playroom of her home in western Wisconsin and tipped the dresser over – along with the old, heavy box-style TV resting on top of it.

The TV hit the ground before knocking her in the back of the head, fracturing her skull from top to bottom. She was placed in a medical coma after being transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, just in case she needed brain surgery.

That wasn't required and she's now on the mend, but her mother Cassandra Sonnentag, joined with Regions Hospital on Friday to tell her story, in the hope other parents take the necessary precautions to avoid the same thing happening to their child.

"My child survived a freak accident that would have probably killed her, had it not hit the ground first," Sonnentag wrote on Facebook. "Don't take chances with your child's life . Don't just assume. It happens to good parents every day . I will never get over the guilt I feel for this happening. I will never forget the image of running in and seeing her lifeless on the floor. I will never be able to take those moments back."

In a press release, Regions Hospital said the old box televisions are hazards for children if they're not placed on a "low, stable piece of furniture." It claims a 36-inch, box-style TV falling 3 feet creates the "same momentum as a 1-year-old child falling 10 stories."

More than a dozen children die every year from TV tip-overs, the release says.

In her Facebook post, Sonnentag said that because of how heavy the TV was she thought there was no danger of her daughter tipping it over, but she created the right conditions for a tip-over when she decided to "climb on the bottom drawer as a ladder."

"Our story at least has a happy ending," she concluded. "Her bruises will fade and her bones will heal. Most can't say that. But I can - and I will. I want our story told, know the dangers ... Please get rid of those TVs. Don't chance it - believe me you may regret it."

Regions Hospital also suggests parents should ensure their flat panel TV is properly secured with a mount with an independent safety certification, and to recycle old TVs rather than keeping them around the house. You can find out how to do this by visiting www.GreenerGadgets.org.

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