A coroner has highlighted the need to secure heavy objects after a toddler was killed by a falling television set.

The 3-year-old Invercargill boy, whose name has been suppressed, died from massive head injuries after the television toppled off a chest of drawers in his parents' bedroom as he tried to turn it on on the morning of July 14.

His sleeping parents and his 4-year-old brother were in the room at the time.

In his finding released today, Coroner Chris Devonport said the toddler was trying to climb a chest of drawers to get to the 60kg television when he knocked the drawers.


The television fell on his head, fracturing his skull.

His parents woke up to the sound of a loud thud. They got the television off their son and attempted CPR before paramedics arrived - but his injuries were not survivable, Coroner Devonport said.

The toddler was declared dead at Invercargill Hospital at 11:45am.

Several days later, the boy's 4-year-old brother - who had been standing on a cabinet near the fallen television - explained what had happened to his mother.

He said his brother was dead "because he was trying to turn the TV on".

The 4-year-old said his brother was holding onto the front of the chest of drawers and moving his body backward and forward when the cabinet and TV fell.

Coroner Devonport said the death was a terrible tragedy that befell an active and adventuresome 3-year-old.

It was a timely warning to parents to secure any heavy objects that may fall over.

"We live in 'shaky isles' and the wisdom in securing objects that may topple over and cause injury if dislodged has been recently highlighted by the Christchurch earthquakes," he said.