Toddler critically injured in furniture fall

Daniel Milliken has had a portion of his brain removed after the accident.
Daniel Milliken has had a portion of his brain removed after the accident.  Photo: Supplied

A "lovable" Oamaru toddler was critically injured when a television accidentally fell on him, his half-brother says. 

Seventeen-month-old Daniel Milliken was flown to Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland after suffering life-threatening head injuries at his family home on Tuesday afternoon.

Police examined the property, on the corner of Thames Highway and Foyle St. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said it appeared to be "a tragic incident". He did not believe the child was injured in suspicious circumstances.

The boy's older half brother, Michael Clarke, 20, said his stepfather was in the kitchen when the toddler tried to climb up a set of drawers that had a television on top. 

"The drawers toppled and the TV fell on him landing on his head," Clarke said.

The toddler was taken from his home to Oamaru Hospital. He was then flown to Dunedin Hospital, and later transferred to Starship.

Daniel had been operated on by "the best team of neurosurgeons in New Zealand" and had a small portion of damaged brain removed. 


"If all goes well he should recover with just a bit less advanced motor skills.

"He's a very strong and loveable boy. It will take from six months up to a few years to recover with rehabilitation and therapy if he recovered fully."

There was still a chance Daniel might not make it, Clarke said.

"We appreciate all the support we are receiving from the many people that love him and the caring strangers.

"It's a terrible terrible accident that ... I would never wish upon anybody ever."

TV and furniture safety 

Kidsafe Victoria says that most TV tip-over accidents occur in children under 4 years of age, with the peak of incidents occurring in children aged 2 years.

They offer the following advice to make the home safer:  

  • secure unstable furniture and items to the wall with furnitue brackets and/or anchors
  • anchor a flat screen TV to the wall or cabinet.
  • push the TV as far back as possible on the TV stand
  • remove items from the top of the TV and furniture that might tempt young children to climb, such as toys, lollies and remote controls
  • choose furniture with a broad and stable base