CPSC Warns of Tipping Dangers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is again urging parents to take simple, low-cost steps to prevent deaths and injuries associated with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/accidents">furniture, TV, and appliance tipovers. The CPSC said that, for young children, the home is a playground, and while many parents childproof their homes to ensure safety, some may not be aware that such unsecured items are hidden hazards lurking in every room.

Earlier this year we wrote that deaths related to television tipovers are posing an increasing hazard, particularly to children. Now, CPSC staff estimates that in 2006, 16,300 children five years of age and younger were treated in emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TV, furniture, and appliance tipovers. Between 2000 and 2006, CPSC staff received 134 reports of tipover related deaths. CPSC staff is also aware of at least 30 media reports of tip-over deaths since January 2007 in this same age group.

“Many parents are unaware of the deadly danger of this hidden hazard. I urge parents to include securing TVs, furniture, and appliances in their childproofing efforts,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Taking a few moments now can prevent a tip-over tragedy later.”

“You may think your home is safe, but everyday things like a television can hurt your child. I was right there and it happened,” said Sylvia Santiago, of West Haven, Connecticut who lost her two-year old daughter in 2008.

Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and appliances. In some cases, televisions placed on top of furniture tip over and cause a child to suffer traumatic, sometimes fatal, injuries. “The most devastating injuries that we see resulting from furniture tipping on children are injuries to the brain and when a child is trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and suffocates,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Recent revisions to the voluntary safety standards for clothes storage units provide for the inclusion of warning labels and additional hardware to secure the furniture to the floor or wall. To help prevent tipover hazards, CPSC offers the following safety tips:

Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases, and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves. 

Push the TV as far back as possible.
Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.
Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.

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

A transcript regarding the a CPSC video clip can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/trans/TipOver.html and the CPSC video can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2009/09/the-tipping-point/

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