CPSC Says 1 Child Killed Every Two Weeks in Furniture Tip-Over Accidents

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced that one child is killed every two weeks in furniture tip-over accidents. For instance, said the CPSC, an 11-month-old baby died in March while watching television with his father and two-year-old brother.

The baby’s brother bumped into the furniture on which the television was sitting. The television fell off of the furniture and fell on the baby’s head and abdomen. Sadly, said the CPSC, these types of accidents are relatively commonplace; furniture and television tip-over incidents are one of the top hidden home hazards.

The CPSC is now urging parents and caregivers to immediately inspect and anchor furniture and televisions to protect young children from this preventable tragedy.

An emerging CPSC report indicates that between 2000 and 2010, agency staff received reports of 245 tip-over-related deaths that involved children 8 years old and younger, with over 90% of the accidents involving children 5 years old and younger. In over half these deaths—56%—the child was crushed by the weight of the television, furniture, or appliance. In most cases, the children—67%—suffered fatal head injuries.

Annually, more than 22,000 children 8 years old and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms, based on 2008-2010 figures. Injuries are generally related to instability or television, furniture, or appliance tip-over. Most—56% involve head injuries.

“Children like to climb on furniture. Placing TVs on furniture not intended for them or having furniture that is not secured can have tragic consequences,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “These tragedies can be prevented by taking low-cost steps. Anchor those TVs and dressers, and protect your child or a child visiting your home.”

According to the CPSC, the most common tip-over accidents involve toddlers who have climbed onto, fallen against, or pulled themselves up on furniture. Most deaths—169 incidents or 70%—involved falling televisions, while 65 incidents—27%—involved furniture falling. Of 135 children’s deaths in which furniture fell by itself or fell with a television, most incidents—64%—involved a chest, dresser, or a bureau. Generally, these furniture pieces are constructed with draws that children can use to climb.

The CPSC suggest the following safety tips be adhered to any home where children live or visit and also offers a number of public service announcement options and other information at its website:

• Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.

• Place televisions on sturdy, low bases or anchor the furniture and the television on top of the furniture, and push the television as far back on the furniture as possible.

• Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off television stands or furniture and keep television and/or cable cords out of the reach of children.

• Ensure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

• Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.

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