While many of us think about safety in our vehicles, safety at home is often less front and center, especially when it comes to furniture safety. Lawmakers recently introduced the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act (STURDY) that would direct the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt a stronger, mandatory stability standard for household furniture.
According to lawmakers, furniture or items on top of them like TVs have caused at least 363 deaths between 2000 and 2011 from children being trapped or crushed by unstable products.
Sadly, more than eight of every 10 victims were under the age of eight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org agrees that dressers seem to be especially dangerous, as kids can pull out a drawer to use as an unstable step to get to the TV. A study this group cites found:
Most of the overturned TVs fell off a dresser or armoire (46 percent), an entertainment center or TV stand (31 percent) or a table or nightstand (8.8 percent).
Kids under age five represented 64 percent of all injured patients; boys accounted for 61 percent.
The most common injuries were lacerations (37 percent) and soft tissue injuries (35 percent). The injuries most often affected the head and neck region (63 percent).
SafeKids.org offers these important suggestions to prevent tipping injuries:
Secure TVs. Mount flat-panel TVs to the wall and place older, box-style TVs (CRTs) on low, stable furniture that can hold the weight.
Attach furniture to the wall using anti-tip brackets, braces or wall straps, and install stops on dresser drawers to keep them from being pulled all the way out.
Rearrange household items. Store heavy objects on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
Recycle old TVs. To find a location that safely and easily recycles unwanted TVs, go to www.GreenerGadgets.org.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reminds parents and caregivers to remove anything that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.
John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.