Tip-over Dangers and Your Child

Have you ever assembled a piece of furniture or gotten that new TV all hooked up and been left with some “safety straps” or anchors that you just didn’t know what to do with? Or maybe you knew what they were for, but figured you’d get around to securing it later? If you have children in the house, it’s imperative that you take these safety precautions against tip-overs seriously. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), one child dies every two weeks when a television, piece of furniture, or appliance falls on him or her. Almost 60 percent of these children are aged three or younger, while 29 percent are aged three to five. Victims may be crushed, trapped and unable to breathe or may even be fatally struck when the object falls on them. The CPSC estimates that children are injured by these three categories of unstable objects at a rate of 3 per hour, 71 per day, 2,117 per month for a total of 25,400 per year. In a highly publicized example, well-known international retailer IKEA was in the news earlier this year for offering a free wall anchoring repair kit to those customers who had purchased a specific style of dresser after the company received reports of two children dying and four being injured after the dresser tipped over and fell on them. In an effort to increase safety, the kit was made available to any consumer who had bought IKEA chests and dressers over certain heights. Most furniture tip-overs are caused by climbing children. That was the case in Louisville in 2012 when a four-year-old boy opened all the dresser drawers like stairs, causing a 100-pound television to fall on top of him and break every bone in his face. In fact, the force exerted by a falling TV can be thousands of pounds and can feel like being hit by an NFL lineman. While a 32-inch flat screen TV is significantly lighter than a 32-inch cathode-ray tube TV, the widespread switch to this new technology may actually be exacerbating the problem. To make room for the modern sets, many people are placing the old sets onto unstable bedroom dressers and playroom shelves. And even the lighter sets can cause serious injuries if placed on a surface that is not secured to the wall.

If you take the time to protect your child by putting locks on the cabinets and plugs on the electrical outlets, extend your efforts to create a safe environment by securing your television and your furniture.
The safest place for a TV is bolted to an adequately sized stand, or strapped or mounted on a wall five feet up, where children can’t reach it. If anchoring is not an option, place the TV on a low, sturdy base. In today’s world where so many screens respond to touch, it’s extra important to make sure your television is secure in case your child gets curious. Store heavy items in bottom drawers or on bottom shelves to help stabilize furniture, and don’t put any items like toys or the remote control on top where children might try to reach them. Furniture can be anchored easily with inexpensive anti-tip brackets, and most new furniture is sold with anti-tip devices. They don’t do any good if they stay in the plastic bag, so install them right away. While accidents cannot always be prevented, sometimes they are caused by a responsible party acting in a negligent fashion. If your child has been injured in a tip-over due the negligence of another, or you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.

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