Noble McIntyre on May 10, 2016
Have you child-proofed your home? If you are living with young children, you probably have taken plenty of precautions — making sure medications and cleaning products are out of reach, covering electrical outlets, and avoiding choking hazards are all important. But, you might not suspect that your child could be seriously injured or killed because of falling furniture.
For a child, any room can be a playground. That’s why the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the Tip-Over Information Center and the Anchor It! campaign, which is intended to raise awareness of tip-over hazards and help parents make their homes safe for children.
Don’t assume that a furniture tip-over can’t or won’t happen. A child dies every two weeks from injuries sustained when a TV, furniture or other appliance has fallen. 70% of these deaths are from TVs on furniture, 26% are from the furniture, itself, and the remaining 4% are from appliances and other housewares.
Here’s a statistic from the CPSC that could surprise you: The children who are most likely to experience fatality in these accidents are those age three to five, which account for 29% of deaths. About half of the deaths are children between one and three years old. 8% are under one year and the remaining 10% are between five and nine years old.
In 60% of cases, the child is crushed by furniture that has tipped over. 18% of the time, the fatality occurs because the child becomes trapped and is unable to breathe. In 10% of these fatalities, the child is hit or struck by falling furniture.
When a 36-inch box-style TV falls just three feet, it has the same momentum as if a one-year-old child were to fall 10 stories. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
Here are the CPSC’s tips for keeping your children safe:
Use furniture as it is intended. Sturdy furniture is best, and TVs should only be placed on furniture that is specifically designed to hold that equipment. A TV stand or media center should be designed for the particular size TV it is holding.
Secure your TV. Even if you don’t have a wall-mounted TV, it should still be anchored to the wall. A flat-screen TV should be mounted to the wall or anchored to furniture because it can easily tip over. If your home has a box TV, place it somewhere that it can be low and stable.
Anchor top-heavy furniture. If you have furniture like high shelves or dressers that don’t already have an anti-tip device, you can purchase inexpensive wall anchors to keep them in place.
Think like your child! What would tempt a child to climb a shelf or on to a table? Maybe putting the remote control out of reach isn’t a great idea if it means that your child is likely to climb the furniture to get it. Think about what would be a temptation to your child, and keep it out of sight, rather than above his head.
These are simple, inexpensive fixes, but they could save your child’s life. At McIntyre Law, we see far too many cases of children suffering from traumatic brain injury, so don’t let this happen to someone you love.