A home is supposed to be a safe haven for its residents. But dangers lurk in nearly every room of a home. Parents may be quick to safeguard against burn risks, electrical outlet exposure and even common household items that can prove poisonous if ingested, but it’s easy to overlook the potential hazards posed by furniture.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that hundreds of fatalities occur each year in the United States due to falling furniture, electronics and appliances. According to a recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 12,500 children per year were injured and treated at emergency rooms due to tip-over accidents between 2016 and 2018. Roughly once every 12 days someone is killed by a falling TV, piece of furniture or appliance.
AnchorIt.gov, a division of the CPSC that focuses on tip-over education, says dressers, bookshelves, televisions, and TV stands can tip over easily. These measures may prevent death and injury from falling appliances and furniture.
• All TVs should be mounted to a wall or piece of furniture. Wall-mounting kits are available for most TVs, including older models. Screws also can secure a TV to a piece of furniture. New televisions typically have anchor spots on their frames.
• Buy anti-tip kits. The CPSC says anti-tip devices, also known as anchoring kits or anti-tip strap, are available and affordable. These kits can take as little as five minutes to install and provide invaluable safety.
• Target dressers, bookcases, mirrors, and other heavy furniture pieces. If an anchoring kit is unavailable, furniture can be screwed directly to studs in a wall using drywall screws and brackets.
• Keep certain electronics out of sight. Many children climb furniture in an attempt to get at iPads, remote controls, toys, and other things parents believe are out of reach. Climbing increases tip-over risk. Instead, hide items elsewhere so that children are not tempted to try to retrieve them by climbing furniture.
• Install drawer stops. Stops can be placed on drawers to keep them from being pulled all the way out and serving as makeshift ladder rungs for kids to climb. Also, multiple open drawers can cause weight to shift precariously in a dresser or other item, resulting in a tip-over.
Tip-over injuries are a very real concern but also very easily prevented.