Tip-over accidents are one of the top hidden hazards in homes. Every 24 minutes a falling TV or piece of furniture tipping over sends a child to the emergency room. Those of us with small children know they will try to climb on anything and everything. For them, home is a playground. You may have thought you already “child-proofed” your home, but be aware that unsecured TVs, bookshelves and other pieces of furniture and appliances are hidden hazards lurking in every room.
From 2011 to 2013, approximately 11,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving television and furniture tip-over’s, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 81 percent of tip-over fatalities occur in the home. Two-thirds of the tip-over fatalities involve toddlers and 42 percent of the fatalities occurred in a bedroom.
The CPSC recently launched “Anchor It!” a national public education campaign to prevent tip-over accidents from killing and seriously injuring children. There are some simple and low cost steps parents and guardians can take to help prevent a tragic tip-over accident.
- Use sturdy furniture. TVs should only be placed on furniture designed to hold them. For example, a television stand or a media / entertainment center.
- Secure your TVs. Televisions that are not mounted properly to the wall should be anchored to the wall.
- Mount flat-screen TVs. Flat screens need to be mounted to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over. In tests conducted by a consumer safety agency, a 32-inch flat screen TV dropped from a height of 36 inches hit with an average force of 2,100 pounds, a sizable impact on a small child’s body.
- Follow instructions. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure TVs and furniture is secured properly. This is usually the final step in the assembly process and oftentimes overlooked.
- Have CRT TVs low and stable. CRT television sets should be placed on furniture designed to hold a TV. These should not be anchored to the wall or placed on a TV stand. In tests conducted by a consumer safety agency, a 32-inch CRT (old style) television dropped from a height of 36 inches hit with an average force of 12,703 pounds. Forty-one percent of households in the U.S. still have at least one CRT set, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.
- Secure top-heavy furniture. Existing furniture can be anchored with inexpensive anti-tip brackets. New furniture, such as dressers, come with anti-tip devises. Install these immediately.
- Remove tempting objects. Remove items that may tempt a child to climb, such as toys, remote controls, from the top of TVs and dressers.
- Keep an eye on your children. Even when they are playing independently, check on your child frequently. Every parent knows when your child gets “too quiet” it’s usually not good.
Get Help With Your Tip-Over Accident Today
At the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., we want your children to always play safe. Every two weeks a child dies when a piece of furniture, a television or an appliance falls on him or her. Sadly, two-thirds of tip-over fatalities involve toddlers. The threat is serious, but the solution is simple. Take the knowledge you have gained from this article to empower your community and help keep all children safe.