(BPT) - After watching thousands of seasoned athletes compete in the summer games, young children may be inspired to attempt their own races or climbing competitions at home. But before kids start practicing their favorite sports activities in a bedroom or living room, parents and caregivers should secure furniture and TVs to the wall to help avoid a potentially deadly tip-over incident.
Here is an important safety message that many adults may have not heard before: furniture and TV tip-overs pose a significant risk to children, with injuries occurring more often than most parents or caregivers may think. Adults should install anti-tip kits to furniture and TVs to reduce the risk of tip-overs and keep their little gymnasts safer while they watch the games or try their own imaginary floor routine.
A recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report shows that between 2000 and 2019, 469 children ages 17 and younger died due to tip-over incidents. Of these tip-over-related fatalities, 89% involved children under five years old. Between 2017 and 2019, an estimated 11,300 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms each year due to tip-overs.
“Tip-over injuries and deaths are among the most tragic we see,” says Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “Parents and caregivers don’t suspect that the bookcase or dresser in their child’s room can be hazardous — it’s truly a hidden hazard. And these tip-overs happen so fast! It’s literally in the blink of an eye, often with a parent close by.”
CPSC launched the Anchor It! campaign to help educate adults about the simple step of installing an anti-tip kit. The campaign also recommends other safety steps, especially in cases when anchoring a TV or furniture, like a dresser, bookshelf or nightstand to the wall, is not possible.
According to a 2020 survey commissioned by CPSC, many parents and caregivers believe that anchoring furniture and TVs is unnecessary because they supervise their children. However, tip-overs can happen quickly, even if a parent is in the room.
CPSC created a public service announcement, “Even When You’re Watching,” to address this misconception. The video contains real footage of tip-over incidents that happened during nap time and while a parent is doing chores and is within arm’s reach of her child.
Data from 2000 through 2019 show that 91% of reported tip-over fatalities occurred inside the home. So, advocates and many furniture manufacturers recommend that parents and caregivers install an anti-tip kit to all furniture and TVs. Increasingly, anchors are provided with the purchase of new furniture and TVs. But in many cases, like buying used furniture and TVs, or when moving an old item into a different room, people should purchase an inexpensive anti-tip kit online, or at their local hardware store.
Parents and caregivers should carefully follow simple steps to install wall anchors. For those who rent their home, or may live somewhere that does not allow you to leave holes in walls, it is easy to patch a hole after the anchor is no longer needed.
There are additional safety steps for families to take to reduce the risk of a furniture and TV tip-over incident. Adults should:
- Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers;
- Keep TV and cable cords out of reach of children;
- Avoid storing items, such as toys and TV remotes, on top of furniture or TVs, where children may be tempted to climb; and
- Place TVs on a sturdy, low base, and push the TV back as far as possible, especially if anchoring is not possible.
Parents or caregivers who take these easy steps to protect children deserve a gold medal; but the true reward is knowing they made the lives of their kids safer. Even when families anchor furniture or TVs, adults should still supervise children to keep them safe.
Visit www.anchorit.gov for additional safety tips and resources and to share this information with family and friends.