DVD player proves to be dangerous

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Technology is a wonderful thing, provided it doesn't kill you.

Take DVD players, for example. The small DVD player in our home looks innocent enough. There are no rough edges. It's lightweight. On the surface, it would appear to be as safe a device as one could find.

That was my opinion until Saturday when our older daughter, Becca, managed to get her right ring finger stuck in the DVD player.

Both Joni and I were away from home at the time. Joni rushed home after receiving a frantic call from our younger daughter, Bailey. She was hysterical.

Becca had been trying to remove a jammed "High School Musical" DVD when she got her finger stuck in the slot. "It stuck on her fingernail and her knuckle," Joni recounted.

"I grabbed a screwdriver and undid the whole thing," she told me. She said it took 10 minutes to dismantle the device.

"Just taking off the top didn't do it," said Joni. "I had to keep unscrewing."

Joni wasn't sure what she would have done if her dismantling effort had failed. When you have a DVD emergency, do you take your child to the hospital emergency room or an electronics store?

Neither of us could answer that question. But I was willing to meet my injured daughter at either the electronics store or the emergency room. Either way, I wanted to witness the DVD clinging to Becca's finger.

But as luck would have it, Joni managed to rescue the finger without enlisting the aid of computer experts or emergency room doctors.

When I arrived home, the whole crisis had been resolved. "Did you take a picture?" I asked Joni.

Unfortunately, she hadn't. She was too busy rescuing Becca's finger to take time to snap a photo for posterity.

As it turned out, Becca didn't break or dislocate her finger. That's good because she already is suffering from a badly sprained finger on her left hand. That finger was injured several weeks ago while she was practicing a routine with other members of her freshman cheerleading squad.

I'm just hoping Becca can get through Christmas without any more injuries.

But when it comes to home accidents, Becca's not our only child prone to freak injuries.

Loyal readers will remember the case of the falling television. Our 36-inch TV fell off a hope chest in our living room. The TV fell on Bailey's legs. Fortunately, they weren't broken but they were badly bruised and sprained. The TV proved to be in better shape than she was.

Of course, the TV wouldn't have fallen on her if she hadn't been inadvertently pushing up against the base with her feet. After Bailey's accident, I instructed her to keep at least 10 feet away from any television in the house. But I've noticed she's moving perilously closer to the screen these days.

When it comes to electronic appliances our children seem amazingly injury-prone. I'm certain it's just such mishaps that have manufacturers searching for new warning labels to alert consumers to the dark side of electronic entertainment devices. Maybe they should come with air bags just in case of an emergency.

Becca can't wait until she can get behind a wheel next year. But I'm having second thoughts. If a DVD player can create havoc for her, what will happen when she drives a car?

They say misery loves company. So I checked the Internet to see if I could find other examples of children being attacked by DVD players. None showed up.

I did find some bizarre hand injuries from the world of baseball. Former pitcher Phil Niekro injured his hand while shaking hands too hard. Rick Honeycutt injured his wrist in the dugout while flicking sunflower seeds.

But in the world of electronic "warfare," our children are at the head of the class.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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