When you think about keeping your child safe, you may not consider the possibility of furniture or TVs tipping over on them.
Unfortunately, tip-over incidents happen more than many of us realize. They can cause serious injury and even death. In fact, a child is rushed to the emergency department at least once every single hour of every single day with injuries from a furniture or TV tip-over.
How furniture can be dangerous
Not surprisingly, 77% of all tip-over deaths from 2000 to 2019 involved kids under the age of six. Children this age are very curious and driven to explore. They're also too short to reach the tops of tall pieces of furniture where irresistible items like TVs, tablets, and toys may reside. All of this can translate to young children climbing furniture such as dressers, tables, chests, TV stands, and bookcases.
Tip-overs can also happen when furniture becomes unstable. This instability may be caused by factors like:
Heavy objects in or on top of the furniture, such as appliances or TVs
Multiple dresser drawers being open at the same time
A furniture design that has a heavy top
Placing the furniture on an unstable surface such as carpet
When a piece of furniture or appliance falls on a small child, it can crush or suffocate them under its weight. If it hits them in the head, they can end up with a serious brain injury. Tip-overs can also cause internal bleeding and broken bones.
You may be a parent who watches your child closely. However,
no parent can have eyes on their child every moment of the day. That's why it is critical to make your home environment as safe as possible.
Of the fatal incidents involving children, about 50% happen in bedrooms, sometimes when parents think their kids are asleep.
You can't always stop your young child from climbing. But you can stabilize the furniture that could hurt them. Anti-tip devices cost $5 to $25 and take just minutes to install.
How to prevent tip-overs
Consider using furniture and wall anchors that are metal (such as "L" brackets). Plastic can become brittle over time and break, causing anchors to fail. Counterfeit/knock off anchors are becoming a problem on some online sites. Use known brand name products, even if they are a little more expensive.
Avoid putting items like toys, electronics, and remotes in high places, no matter where it is. This can tempt kids to climb.
Install dresser drawer stops or safety straps so your child can't pull drawers out all the way. Use the kind that attach on the outside of the drawer and side of a dresser, or magnet locks. Remember to store the magnet key in a safe place out of sight and reach of the child.
Never place a TV on top of a dresser, especially in a child's room or playroom. If you have an old tube style TV and replace it with a flat screen. Recycle it rather than give it away or put it elsewhere in your home.
Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture. Use anti-tip devices for TVs that aren't wall mounted. Flat screen TVs can still injure or kill a child. Even though they seem light, they weigh as much as one or two bowling balls! You wouldn't want a bowling ball to fall on your child's head, so be sure to anchor even flat screen TV's.
If your child has had furniture fall on them, be sure to take them to see their pediatrician or to the emergency room right away. Even if they seem fine, there could be internal bleeding or damage to their organs.
It's also important to report tip-overs to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.saferproducts.gov, even if there was no injury, as it could prevent another child from being injured or killed by the same type of furniture.