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How to Childproof Furniture

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By Alison Johnson

6-22-consumer-leadRISMEDIA, June 22, 2009-(MCT)-The number of children injured when furniture falls on them has jumped 40% over the past 20 years. Here are tips from Dr. Jim Schmidt, co-founder of the Virginia Beach, Va.-based company Child Safety House Calls:

Tether it. Secure any potentially unstable furniture to the wall. Rock each piece to test if a toddler’s weight could topple it, realizing that even heavy objects can fall if a child pulls or climbs on open drawers.

Watch what’s on top. Objects you know a child will want – such as a toy or remote control – will tempt them to climb.

Beware of coffee tables … Many are the perfect height for toddlers to whack their heads. Consider moving a table with sharp edges into storage, replacing it with a soft ottoman or covering it with a thick blanket whenever a child is around.

… and televisions. Hang TVs on the wall, tether them to the wall or keep them low to the ground. Kids are naturally curious about them, and they’re heavy enough to cause serious injury.

Use Velcro. Kids often tear off protective padding that parents tape or glue on sharp edges. If you adhere cushioning with Velcro, you can easily put it back on.

Choose tempered glass. This glass shatters into tiny pieces rather than large, jagged shards when broken, meaning a child may get more small cuts but no life-threatening wounds. Ask a salesperson for guidance when buying glass-top or glass-front furniture.

Place furniture wisely. Always keep it away from windows and railings, where a climbing child might fall.

Beware of choking hazards. Beads, rivets and wicker all can break off into small pieces. Go for hardwood furniture or upholstery without beading.

© 2009, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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