There is something in your home posing a great risk to your children and their safety and you may not even be giving it a second thought. Furniture tip-overs are a common occurrence, resulting in some very serious injuries, even death. In the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year, 8,000 to 10,000 people are injured by falling furniture – and many of them are children.
Just a few weeks ago, IKEA recalled millions of their popular Malm dressers across the United States and Canada. This was following the death of six children in the US. Given the popularity of this particular dresser, you may even have one in your home. If you do, you should read the statement issued by IKEA Canada regarding the recall.
What causes furniture to be a danger? Much like the Malm dresser problem, most furniture-related injuries occur when an unsecured piece of furniture falls or tips-over on to a person. It’s especially dangerous for small children. Many times a child will pull the furniture onto themselves or cause a tip-over by climbing on the furniture. In other cases, they may even push it over on another child.
Here are a few things you can do to minimize the risks:
- TVs are often involved in tip-overs, so place your TV on a low, wide base, and push it as far back on its base as possible. Check that the size and weight limit of the stand will hold your TV.
- Do not use shelves or dressers as TV stands that were not made to support the weight of a TV.
- Strap all TVs to a stable stand or wall.
- Attach large furniture, such as dressers and bookshelves, to the wall using safety straps, brackets, or other secure attachments.
- Place heavy items on lower shelves of bookcases or entertainment centers.
- Use desks with wide legs or solid bases.
- Install drawer stops on all drawers.
- If you have children in the home, do not place items of interest such as toys high on shelves or cabinets as they may try to climb to reach these items.
- Keep cords from TVs and other appliances tucked away so your children cannot pull them down.
Small children don’t have the awareness of the dangers or the speed and strength to save themselves from a furniture tip-over accident. That’s why it is important for parents to secure furnishings within the home and reduce the risk of an accident.