With the holidays over, many families are enjoying new television sets and furniture pieces. Unfortunately, these common gift items can pose a huge safety risk for your child. In fact, television sets falling and furniture items tipping over is becoming a more common cause of injury and death among children. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission released a startling report in December that showed just how dangerous these common household items can be.
The CPSC data report shows that 349 consumers (84 percent of them children younger than age 9) were killed between 2000 and 2011 when TVs, furniture or appliances toppled over onto them. 2011 was a record year with 41 fatalities reported from falling television sets or furniture. This is an increase from 31 in 2010 and 27 in 2009. CPSC estimates that more than 43,000 consumers are injured each year in tip-over incidents. More than 25,000 (59 percent) of those injuries are to children under the age of 18. Falling furniture accounts for more than half (52 percent) of the injury reports. Falling televisions have proven to be more deadly, as they are associated with more than half (62 percent) of reported fatalities.
What makes this tragedy worse is that it is completely preventable. With $15 and about 15 minutes of your time you can have your furniture and television sets secured to your walls and safe from tipping. Furniture straps, televisions straps, or bracketing systems are all that you need to keep your children safe.
Sadly, this safety risk is not one that is in the mainstream for parents. We always hear of fall hazards, choking hazards, food hazards, and the list goes on – but how often do you hear of falling television and furniture hazards? The risk is great and the solution simple if only parents knew about it.
Thankfully there is a very brave woman who shared the story of the tragic loss of her daughter from a falling dresser that moved me to action. You can read her story here. Have your tissues ready because you will no doubt need an entire box when you read her story about that tragic day. She shares some of her deepest feelings, but more importantly, her hope for the future. She has given her time and life now to preventing this tragedy from happening to other parents. Her organization, Meghan’s Hope, helps keep parents informed on unknown safety hazards as well as simple fixes to these hazards. Follow the Meghan’s Hope Facebook page for lots of great tips that will no doubt open your eyes to things you never even imagined.
Please read Meghan’s story and share it with those you love. These tragedies could become history with a little education for parents. Here are some tips to keeping your home as safe as possible from falling furniture and television hazards.
To help prevent tip-over tragedies, CPSC recommends the following safety measures in homes where children live or visit:
- Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
- Place TVs on sturdy, low bases, or anchor the furniture and the TV on top the base, and push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible.
- Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off of TV stands or furniture.
- Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.
- Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
- Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.
I am going to be completely honest here. I never once thought of the dangers of tipping furniture with my children. However, after reading Meghan’s story I will be securing all my furniture TODAY! Please take these steps and help keep your little ones safe. Do you have your furniture secured?