Furniture Tip-Over Can be Fatal for Children

Parents take step necessary to ensure their child’s safety outside the home. However, most parents don’t know about dangers present inside their own homes. A small child can pull on a dresser, television, or other piece of furniture and get seriously injured. A recent news release outlines the danger of furniture tip-over.

“Every parent or guardian of a young child should look around their homes and imagine what could tip over, fall off walls and injure a child. Imagining it is better than it becoming a reality,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in the college news release.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 43,000 people were admitted to a U.S. emergency room after an object or a piece of furniture fell over them between 2009 and 2011. 60 percent of these accidents involved young people, and of these accident almost 300 kids between 1 month and 8 years old died from their injuries.

Emergency physicians have several tips for preventing fatal tip-over injuries with children, such as using safety gates to keep children from entering rooms that are not childproofed. “Telling a child not to touch or climb on something is not enough,” said Rosenau. “You must take the first steps to prevent tragedy from happening in your home by childproofing each room they are in.”

Physicians also recommend the following precautions:

  • Secure furniture to the wall. You can get instructions and tips from home improvement stores or child retail stores.
  • If you cannot secure a piece of furniture, you may consider replacing it, especially if it is a top-heavy object. This is especially important for furniture with shelves, drawers, and doors.
  • Store heavy and commonly used objects low to the ground, especially television and computer equipment.
  • Do not keep objects on top of televisions.
  • Keep mounted television out of reach of young children.
  • Secure or remove large wall art and heavy sculptures.
  • Be sure to secure appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves.

Furniture tip-over is one of the most prevalent hazards in the home. 1 child dies every 2 weeks from furniture tip-over. Fatal tip-overs most commonly occur with children between ages 3 to 5, and ages 1 to 2, and any child from infancy up to age 9 is at risk for fatal furniture tip-over.

Parents should make themselves aware of other hazards in the home as well, including:

  • Poisoning. To prevent child poisoning, a parent needs to do more than secure medicine and kitchen cabinets. Keep other items that can cause unintentional poisoning locked away, including objects containing coin-sized batteries, single use laundry packets, and appliances that emit carbon monoxide.
  • Strangulation. Each month nearly one child dies or is injured by a window covering cord. Replace your window covering with a cordless window covering, or Contact the Window Covering Safety Council for a free repair kit.
  • Drowning. Children can die quickly in bathtubs or other containers. Always empty water from sinks and coolers, and always cover or close washing machines, hot tubs, or in-home spas when not in use. Children should always be supervised in the bathtub.


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