CPSC Urges Parents To Buy Tip-Over Prevention Kits Along With New Furniture During Holiday Season

Thousands of children are injured, and some killed, every year due to furniture tip-over accidents

With the holiday shopping season underway, federal safety officials want consumers to be aware of furniture tip-over risks, and are urging them to purchase anchor kits along with all new furniture during the holiday season.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a furniture tip-over warning this month, encouraging consumers to purchase anchoring kits along with televisions, dressers, bookcases and other common household furniture items that have been linked to devastating tip-over injuries, where small children are crushed or killed under the weight of the furniture.

Furniture tip-over prevention has been a major focus of the safety regulators in recent years, after a number of incidents in recent years where children suffocated or suffered a blunt force trauma. These accidents often occur when a child wants to reach for something up high on a dresser or the top of a television, and their weight causes the furniture to fall on top of them.

On average, a child is sent to the emergency room for a tip-over injury every 24 minutes in America, according to the CPSC. However, these accidents are preventable if furniture is anchored to the wall.

In the latest warning, officials released updated statistics from the most recent Tip-Over Injuries and Fatalities Associated with Televisions, Furniture, and Appliances: 2020 Report, indicating an average of 11,100 children were treated at emergency departments annually from 2017 through 2019. The report found between 2000 and 2019 nearly 470 children under the age of 17 were killed by furniture tip-overs.

“Check CPSC’s website to make sure your furniture is not subject to a recall,” CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric urged in the press release. “In addition, to reduce a tip-over risk and protect children, parents and caregivers should install anti-tip kits that can be found online or in a hardware store for any TVs or furniture that are not yet secured. Taking these steps now will allow families to have a safer holiday season.”

The release offers a series of recommendations for parents and caregivers, which includes always placing televisions on a steady surface that is pushed back as far as possible to be anchored to the wall. Consumers should also keep cords to the television out of reach of children who could pull them, causing the television to tip over.

To prevent dressers, bookcases and other similar household furniture tip-over incidents, these items should be placed on solid surfaces and against a wall to be properly anchored. The CPSC warns unanchored dressers placed on carpet or uneven surface may make them prone to tipping over.

Additionally, the agency notes children are inherently more susceptible to tip-over accidents from climbing and reaching for items at the top of dressers, or television stands, whether it is for a remote, gaming equipment or toys. Officials warn parents and caregivers to never place items up high on dressers that would encourage children to climb on them.

The CPSC offers a series of resources on its website that teaches consumers how to properly anchor a piece of furniture or television, without the need of any special skills.

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The commission launched its first ever “Anchor-It” campaign in 2015 to raise awareness among parents and caregivers about the dangers of unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture tipping over, citing 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 five years old and over 80% involve children under 10.

The first Anchor-It campaign was launched just months prior to an IKEA MALM dresser recall after finding more than 35 million dressers were in violation of industry standards requiring furniture over specified heights be anchored to walls to prevent tip-over hazards to consumers. To date, nearly 100 injuries and at least eight fatalities have been reported in relation to the MALM recall series.

In January 2020, a $46 million IKEA wrongful death settlement was reached after a lawsuit was filed by the surviving family of a California boy who died after a MALM series dresser tipped over on him, causing him to suffocate to death. The lawsuit claimed Ikea was aware the chests and dresser did not adhere to the industry’s voluntary stability standards.

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