Accidents in the home caused by falling furniture and television sets are leading to more and more trips to the emergency room for young children, according to a study released this week. But there are a number of simple steps you can take to prevent furniture and appliance tip-overs in your home.
The study Injuries from Furniture Tip-Overs Among Children and Adolescents in the U.S., 1990-2007, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, analyzed the incidence of children's injuries from furniture and appliance tip-overs in the home, and uncovered a "significant increase" in these kinds of injuries from 1990 to 2007.
Of more than 264,000 furniture and appliance tip-over injuries that required emergency room treatment over that time period, the study found that falling televisions were the most common cause (over 47 percent of injuries), and that the vast majority of injuries (75 percent) were to children age 6 and younger.
So, what can you do to make your home safer for your kids and prevent furniture and TVs from tipping over? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers the following advice to parents and caregivers:
Verify that all furniture in your home is stable. For storage units like dressers and cabinets, place heavier items in lower drawers or compartment so that the unit is bottom-heavy, and therefore more stable.
Use anchors for all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus. Anchor these pieces to a wall or to the floor using hardware like brackets, screws, and toggles. Your local hardware store should be able to provide advice on your options for securing furniture, and tips for installation.
For televisions, place them on sturdy furniture that is appropriate for the size of the TV, and push the TV as far back as possible on the furniture. Remove items from the top of the TV that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls. Also, many newer televisions come with brackets or straps that are intended to help secure the television to a wall or floor, so be sure to explore those options was well.
- Injuries from Furniture Tip-Overs Among Children and Adolescents in the U.S., 1990-2007 (SAGE Journals Online)
- N.Y. Times: Hazards: Injuries from Falling Furniture are Rising
- CBS News: Parents' Tipping Point: Falling Furniture
- Data Shows Unstable TVs, Furniture and Appliances Pose Deadly Danger to Children (CPSC.gov)
- Childproofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children (CPSC.gov)
- Tips for Health and Safety in the Home (FindLaw)
- Personal Injury Information Center (provided by Grossinger Gordon Vatz, LLP)