Here are some facts and figures from the CPSC study:
- From 1990 to 2007, an average of nearly 15,000 children under 18 visited emergency rooms each year for injuries received from furniture tip-overs. The number shows a 40% increase in injury reports over the duration of the study, hinting that the problem is growing worse. About 300 fatalities were reported.
- Most injuries were to children 6 and under, and resulted from televisions tipping over.
- The most severe injuries were head injuries and suffocation resulting from entrapment.
- More than 25% of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture.
- Most of the injured children were males under 7 who suffered blows to the head.
- The newer flat-screen TVs are not as front-heavy as the older, traditional TV sets, which means they may be less likely to tip over. Experts warn, however, that flat-screen TVs are still heavy to children, and they often have sharp, dangerous edges.
- In 2006, Pier 1 Imports announced the recall 4,300 TV stands after one of them resulted in the death of a child in Canada.
Parents can minimize the risks posed to their children from furniture tip-overs by practicing the following strategies:
- Supervise young children at all times.
- Place televisions low to the ground and near the back of their stands.
- Strap televisions and furniture to the wall with heavy safety straps or L-brackets. Many of these devices do not require that any holes be drilled into furniture, and they can secure items up to 100 pounds.
- Heavy items, such as televisions, should be placed far back on a dresser rather than at the front edge, which would shift the center of gravity forward and make the whole assembly more likely to tip over. Ideally, the center of gravity for furniture should be as low as possible, with the furniture placed back against a wall.
- Only purchase furniture that has a solid base, wide legs, and otherwise feels stable.
- Install drawer stops that prevent drawers from opening to their full extent, as a full extension can cause a dangerous forward-shift in the center of gravity.
- Keep heavier items on lower shelves and in lower drawers.
- Never place items that may be attractive to children, such as toys, candy or a remote control, on the top of a TV or piece of furniture.
- Do not place heavy televisions on dressers or shelving units that were not designed to support such weight.
- Place electrical cords out of the reach of children, and teach kids not to play with them. A cord can be used to inadvertently pull a TV, and perhaps its supporting shelf, onto a child.
- Read the manufacturer's instructions to learn about additional tips and hazards regarding the placement and use of your TV and furniture.
In summary, TVs and furniture can easily tip over and crush a small child if safety practices are not followed by parents.