The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that between 2000 and 2010, there were at least 245 deaths related to tip-overs of furniture, televisions or appliances among children ages 8 years old and younger. Ninety percent of the deaths involved children younger than 6. In 2011, the CPSC identified the issue as one of the top hidden home hazards.
“Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing onto, falling against or pulling themselves up on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables and other furniture,” said Julie Wheatley, Safe Kids Vigo County coordinator.
CPSC data also show that between 2008 and 2010 there were 22,000 injuries associated with product instability or tip-overs involving children younger than 9.
“If a piece of furniture is unstable or top-heavy, fasten it to a wall using brackets, screws or wall straps,” Wheatley said. “Don’t keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables. A child might be enticed to reach for the top and pull down the object, the stand or both.”
Wheatley recommends homeowners keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers, tie up loose cords, teach children not to climb or jump on furniture and push the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand. Over the last decade, 60 percent of tip-over fatalities involved a television.
“These are not hazards that kill hundreds of children every year, like vehicle crashes or drowning, but they are so easy to prevent, and the consequences can be so severe,” Wheatley said. “Don’t underestimate the possibility of a small child being crushed by unsteady furniture.”
For more information about home safety, call 812-232-5190 or visit www.safekids.org.