JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An 8-year-old boy died Friday morning after a TV set accidentally fell on him in his Wesconnett home, his mother told News4Jax.
Police arrived about 5:15 a.m. at the home on Painted Pony Drive, just off Ortega Farms, and found the boy, identified by his mother as Christian Deron Dozier, unresponsive.
They said a PVC entertainment system and an old box-set television could be seen in a bedroom.
Christian's mother, Amy Peterson, said the TV was on the stand and Christian was kicking the stand while lying on his back on the floor, which caused the TV to move back, bounce off the wall and tip forward, falling on him. He suffered head injuries.
Peterson said Christian was bleeding heavily and coughing up blood. She said she moved him to the living room and performed CPR on him while she was on the phone with 911.
Christian was rushed to UF Health Jacksonville, where he died.
His brother, who was also in the room, was not injured. The boys are two of six siblings, their mother said.
“I don’t know where to start, because when I called yesterday to (the) Jacksonville Sheriff’s department to tell them that I was (Christian’s) biological mother and to find out any information,” Hoover said. “They hadn’t told me anything because I had lost custody and he (an officer) was very rude to me.”
Joann Mirdaniali, a family friend, helped take care of Christian's brother and four sisters Friday after the accident.
“It's sad, very sad. I took them out to eat, and we talked about their brother. They were saying he used to do this, he used to do that. Stuff like that,” Mirdaniali said. “They are just saying that they miss him. And they just cried and said the TV fell on him.”
A neighborhood in shock
Neighbors said the children are friendly and the parents are conscientious. The neighborhood was shaken by the accident, and many of the family's friends wondered how they were going to explain Christian's death to their children.
“Honestly, I don't know. I've never had to explain to them -- that is going to be a touchy subject right there,” said Jesse Ellis, whose children often played with Christian. “I just saw the kid yesterday, literally yesterday. I saw him playing on his scooter. No way it could be that same kid. I came down here and craziness. I never would have thought of that.”
Christian's mother described him as a playful boy who loved superheroes, playing sports and video games.
"It's horrible. (My) grandchildren played with them," neighbor Regina Williams said. "Any time something happens to a kid -- when I saw the crime-scene tape -- the last thing I thought it would be was one of the children. They're so friendly. Good kids."
Peterson said Christian was a first-grade student at Timucuan Elementary School. Grief counselors were at the school Friday to explain what happened to the other students.
“They are just good people. My kids play with them. I've never seen anything that shouldn't happen, happen,” family friend Bron Lyles said.
Lyles was in shock Friday after hearing the news.
"He plays with my son all the time. Great kid," Lyles said. "They're always out here riding their scooters and electric motorcycles. I just can't believe this happened."
The Department of Children and Families released a statement about the accident:
We are absolutely devastated for this family and our hearts go out to all those who cared for this child. The department has opened a child protective investigation regarding this terrible tragedy and we will assist law enforcement in any way appropriate.
Dangers of falling TVs
According to statistics from SafeKids.org, every three weeks, a child dies from a television tipping over.
The organization released a study on the dangers of TV tip-overs in 2012 and found that 12,800 children in the U.S. were injured from a TV tipping over onto them in 2011.
“We recommend doing a TV safety check, and if it's an old TV (CRT model), it needs to be out on a low, stable piece of furniture, because those can't be mounted like you can your flat screens,” said Cindy Dennis, with Safe Kids Northeast Florida. “Purchase a strap and strap the TV to the wall.”
According to the numbers from Safe Kids, seven out of 10 children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 years old or younger.
For perspective, a 36-inch CRT television falling three feet creates the same momentum as a 1-year-old child falling 10 stories, according to Safe Kids.
A new study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that of 300 tip-over incidents, 90 percent involved a CRT TV.
For more information on TV tip-over dangers and how to prevent them, go to SafeKids.org. The organization has compiled a tip sheet, an infographic explaining the statistics and produced a video for parents.