Government safety officials have launched a new campaign designed to raise awareness among parents and caregivers about the dangers of unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture tipping over, causing severe and potentially life-threatening injuries for children.
Despite attempts in recent years to promote the importance of anchoring heavy furniture, new data shows tipped furniture accidents send children to the emergency room every 24 minutes.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched a new “Anchor It!” campaign on June 4, indicating that furniture and TV tip-over accidents have caused 430 deaths over the last 13 years and account for roughly 38,000 emergency rooms visits annually.
The CPSC warns that unsecured furniture tip-over hazards are among the top hidden hazards in the home and are calling for parents to take action that could stop these preventable injuries and deaths.
The campaign will include public service announcements (PSAs), print PSAs, and other marketing designed to encourage people to visit their informational website www.anchorit.gov, which outlines dangers of tip-over accidents and steps to prevent them from happening.
In addition, the agency will be working with foundations, organizations, and privately owned companies to deliver safety messages to communities through social media. Awareness cards and posters are also being printed for distribution to caregivers at daycare centers and pre-schools.
Recent data analysis by the CPSC has shown that almost 40,000 Americans go to emergency rooms each year with injuries related to tip-overs of top heavy furniture or televisions that were not bolted into the floor or secured by a stand. Two-thirds of these injury reports involve children younger than 5 years old and over 80% involve children under 10.
Children are more susceptible to tip-over accidents due to their height and that they may try to climb on a TV stand or dresser to reach remotes, gaming equipment, or toys. The CPSC recommends that parents never leave remotes on dressers or anything that would entice a child to reach upward and pose a tip-over hazard.
The severity of injuries that come from tip-over accidents vary from minor scratches and bruising to fatal accidents. The CPSC data indicates that the majority of the accidents result in some sort of injury to the head or neck due to children reaching up on dressers and TV stands.
In a 2013 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Child Injury Prevention Alliance found that nearly 400,000 children were treated in emergency rooms over the last 22 years due to furniture tip-over related accidents. The researchers found in their study that falling television accounted for more than 50 percent of the emergency rooms visits. In recent years, the style and number of TVs have increased with nearly every household owning at least one television, with many homes having two or more.
CPSC Commissioners Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic stated in the agency’s public notice that every 24 minutes in the U.S. a child goes to the emergency room because of a tip-over related accident. The officials believe an increase of awareness could prevent these accidents if caregivers and parents take precautionary steps such as installing low coast anchoring devices for televisions, dressers, bookcases, and other top heavy furniture.
The CPSC also recommends avoiding putting remotes and toys on dressers that would tempt children to climb. It is also recommended that in addition to anchoring down heavy furniture to also store heavier items on the lower shelves or drawers to make the furniture less top heavy and not so prone to tipping over.