By: Bonnie Fachler, Owner of Home Safe Home Childproofing, LLC
17 minutes. In fact, every 17 minutes.
This is the number anchorit.gov gives for how often children in the U.S. get injured in furniture and TV tip-over accidents.
That’s more than 80 children a day.
Worse, about every 10 days, a child dies from a tip-over.
Cold, wintry days ahead will keep us home more, providing your child with more time to explore their environment.
In this month’s blog, we cover five important ways parents can prevent dangers related to furniture and TV tip-overs.
WATCH THIS ON NETFLIX.
Check out the “Deadly Dressers” episode from the Netflix docu-series “Broken”. You will learn about the controversial “disposable furniture” industry and how many children have been needlessly injured by it.
If you can’t watch, know this: even though IKEA’s newest dressers are designed to prevent tip-over deaths, there are no enforceable standards in the furniture industry.
In other words, your furniture is not guaranteed to not tip over.
It is completely on you, the consumer, to make sure that your furniture is childproofed and properly anchored to a stud in a wall.
Read on to learn a test you can conduct in your home to see what will tip.
DO THIS TEST.
Walk around your home and look at bookcases, mirrors, dressers, shelves, armoires, even appliances and press firmly to try to tip them.
For chests of drawers, if they don’t tip easily, open a drawer or two and apply some gentle pressure. This will change the center of gravity making tip-over more likely.
Children often do this as a way of playing by climbing on the open drawers like steps. Which leads us to…
RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT.
Rearrange household items by storing heavy objects on lower shelves or drawers.
Avoid placing remote controls, toys, or other “shiny objects” in places where children may be tempted to climb up or reach for them.
If you are going on vacation this season, remember to inquire about the hotel or Airbnb furniture and surroundings. Double-check that TVs are anchored, or ask the hotel manager or host if there are any child safe rooms available.
Same if you’re visiting grandma and grandpa’s house.
DON’T USE THESE TO ANCHOR FURNITURE.
Plastic cable ties and Mommy’s Helper Furniture Straps often break easily and are not meant as a furniture anchor.
Go to a local hardware store to get proper furniture anchors, locks, and other child safety equipment appropriate for home use or contact Home Safe Home Childproofing and we will supply and install the leading home safety equipment for you.
DON’T IGNORE THE ISSUE (EVEN WITH OLDER CHILDREN).
Not to spoil the Netflix show, but every parent whose child suffered in a tip-over accident thought the same thing:
“It could never happen to me.”
Whether it’s because they thought the furniture was safe enough or because their children were old enough and knew better, these parents did not take the proper precautions they needed to ensure their child’s safety in the home.
Latest Anchor It! Statistics Show Nearly 80% of All Furniture , TV, and Appliance Tip-Over Fatalities Involve Children 5 Years Old and Younger” (US Consumer Product Safety Commission News Release, November 26, 2019, 20-032)
In a speech at the International Association for Child Safety, our friend Kimberly Amato, whose daughter Meghan was killed by a fallen dresser, told us what she tells every parent, “Better a hole in your wall than a hole in your heart”. Her website www.meghanshope.org is rich in important tips for parents.
Again, I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and SAFE New Year!