Every 24 minutes a falling piece of furniture or TV sends an injured child to the emergency room, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Additionally, a child dies every two weeks from falling furniture or appliances, with the majority of tip-over accidents involving toddlers. Many parents don’t realize how much of a hazard these heavy objects can be. In fact, falling furniture is one of the top hidden hazards in the home. A television can fall with the force of thousands of pounds, which is 10 times more powerful than being hit by an NFL lineman.
September is Baby Safety Month, a great time to remember that furniture-related accidents are 100 percent preventable and can be avoided by anchoring heavy dressers, bookcases, TVs and other large furniture to walls. Preventing tip-over accidents is easy, cheap and only takes a few minutes. By stabilizing furniture and heavy appliances throughout the home, the number of tragedies can be greatly minimized.
Because of the recent increase of furniture-related child injuries, it’s important to take extra measures to keep your young ones safe. These simple tips from the local experts at Baby Furniture Plus Kids will help to prevent furniture tip-over accidents in your home.
1. Look to see if the furniture meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety standards, which can typically be found on the company’s website. Not all children’s furniture meets the ASTM safety standards, so make sure that you choose a brand with products that are engineered and tested to inhibit tip-over accidents. Although they meet ASTM standards, these products still need to be anchored to the wall, especially when the piece has drawers.
2. Properly anchor your furniture to the wall using a furniture tipping restraint kit, which attaches to dressers, bookcases and other heavy furniture. Existing furniture can be anchored with anti-tip brackets, which can be purchased online or at your local hardware store. Brackets are inexpensive and easy to install. New furniture is sold with tipping restraint kits, so install them right away. Always follow manufacturer instructions when installing these devices and be sure to double check the attachment points to make sure the device is secure.
3. Choose products that are GREENGUARD Gold Certified. Indoor air quality is important for baby safety, and products that have achieved this certification have been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and more than 360 volatile organic compounds that pollute indoor air and contribute to health problems, including asthma and allergies. Stone & Leigh by Stanley Furniture is certified to meet the GREENGUARD Gold standard for indoor air quality.
4. Audit other safety risks throughout the home, including attaching restraint hardware to all TVs. Televisions should only be placed on a media center or a low, sturdy piece of furniture that is the appropriate size and weight for the TV. This is especially important for heavier, box-style CRT TVs. Never use a dresser as a TV stand, as it can easily tip over. If your TV isn’t mounted to the wall, make sure to anchor it with an anti-tip device or strap.
5. Remove appealing objects from high places. Kids are very curious and love to climb. As you childproof your home, remove items that could tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of TVs and furniture. Additionally, keep heavier items on lower shelves or close to the ground level.
6. Secure dresser and cabinet drawers. Open dresser drawers can result in a change in the center of gravity, causing the furniture to tip over, even without a child climbing on them. While dresser and cabinet latches are not designed to replace furniture anchors, installing them can help prevent tip-over accidents, and keep young ones from accessing dangerous items such as cleaning products.
Recent news reports about furniture-related child injuries are a reminder of how important it is for consumers to anchor furniture to walls and to buy products that adhere to product safety standards. By following these tips, you can keep your children safe from furniture-related accidents and health issues.
Phil Fairey is vice president of Baby Furniture Plus Kids, with locations in Greenville, Columbia and Charlotte.