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The dangers of unsecured furniture and TVs: how to prevent tip-over accidents

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In recent months, numerous parents watched a shocking viral video of a 2-year-old Utah boy rescuing his twin brother, who was pinned under a fallen dresser. Others read about IKEA’s $50 million settlement with the families of three toddlers who were killed in tip-over incidents involving furniture made by the company.

Unfortunately, many of these same parents will fail to take simple, inexpensive measures in their own homes to protect their little ones from these types of tragic accidents.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a child is killed by an unstable and unsecured TV or large piece of furniture every two weeks. Nearly 40,000 related injuries are reported each year, and two-thirds of these incidents involve children under five. The most concerning detail about these statistics is the injuries and deaths caused by tipping furniture are almost entirely preventable.

Precautions to Reduce the Risk of an Accident

Follow this guide and use instructions or materials provided by manufacturers to properly secure furniture in your home, and take these extra precautions to further reduce your child’s odds of becoming a victim of a tip-over accident:

  • Never place a TV of any kind on top of a dresser or other piece of furniture that is not designed for the purpose. Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall whenever possible, and use a low, solid base for those that cannot be mounted.
  • If a restraint system was not included with a product or you’re not confident in the one provided by the furniture manufacturer, secure the item with corner braces or safety straps.
  • Secure shelves and drawers even in places where your little ones should not be playing while unsupervised, such as the basement, garage or shed.
  • Avoid placing toys, electronics, snacks or other items that may be tempting to children on top of shelves or dressers. Never allow children to climb or hang on furniture that could be prone to tipping, even if you’ve taken measures to properly secure it.
  • Understand that although installing locks on the drawers of a shelving unit may help discourage your child from climbing, it is not an adequate prevention technique.

Even sturdy, high-quality furniture can tip under certain conditions, and these types of incidents often happen in an instant, leaving little or no time to react. While you may hate the idea of putting holes in your walls or drilling into a beautiful antique, nothing in your home is worth the risk of putting the ones you love in harm’s way.

For more information about tip-over dangers, visit anchorit.gov.