In your quest to babyproof your home, have you checked to make sure TVs, furniture, and other appliances are securely in place? According to a US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advisory released September 23, 2010, between 2000 and 2008, CPSC staff received reports of nearly 200 furniture or appliance tip-over-related deaths involving children 8 years old and younger. Nearly all of these fatalities (93 percent) involved children 5 years old and younger. The CPSC also estimated that more than 16,000 children 5 years old and younger were treated in emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TVs, furniture, and appliance tip-overs in 2006, the most recent year statistics were available.
Large TVs and unstable furniture can be a deadly combination and "taking simple, low-cost steps to secure furniture and TVs can save lives," says CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Parents need to know about this hidden danger and take action now."
Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and appliances. In some cases, televisions placed on top of furniture will tip over and cause a child to suffer traumatic and sometimes fatal injuries.
To help prevent tip-over hazards, the CPSC offers the following safety tips:
- Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests, dressers, TV stands, bookcases, and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
- Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
- Push the TV as far back on its stand as possible.
- Place electrical cords out of a child's reach and teach kids not to play with them.
- Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won't be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
- Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
The CPSC is intensifying its outreach efforts by streaming a 20 second public service announcement about how to prevent furniture and appliance tip-overs. To watch the PSA, parents can text TVFALL to 878787 through October 23, 2010.