The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents and caregivers about the dangers to young children from furniture in the home that is not properly secured and leads to tip-over deaths. It happened in Jacksonville this year when a young girl reached for a toy on the top of a television just resting on a stand. It toppled over onto her killing her. She was just one of about 134 tip-over deaths reported to the CPSC in recent years. More than 16,300 children under the age of five were treated in emergency rooms in 2006 because of tip-over hazards.
Some parents may not think that an unsecured television, furniture, or appliances could be a hidden hazard, but they are and they exist in almost every room.
“The most devastating injuries resulting from furniture tipping on children are injuries to the brain and when a child is trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and suffocates,” according to Dr. Gary Smith, who is Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The CPSC says parents need to take simple low-cost precautions to prevent death and personal injury. Since young children typically climb up stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, and desks,
CPSC offers the following safety tips:
- Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases, and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
- Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
- Push the TV as far back as possible.
- Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach children not to play with them. Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so children won’t be tempted to grab them and risk knocking the TV over.
Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets. Manufacturers and retailers also have an obligation to warn purchasers of the tip-over hazards. This is especially true because most adult homeowners really don’t appreciate the risk these hazards present in their home.
Expect to see more warning labels on storage units and additional hardware provided to secure the furniture to the wall. It’s important to read the warnings enclosed and not just throw this information out.