Nearly all furniture tip-over accidents and deaths involve toddlers, according to a new federal report, which urges consumers to make sure they always properly anchor their furniture and appliances.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued updated statistics from the “Anchor It” campaign on November 26, showing 80% of all furniture, TV and appliance tip-over fatalities involve children five year of age and younger.
Furniture tip-over problems are among the top hidden hazards in the home, and have caused at least 459 deaths over the last 18 years, according to the CPSC. This latest report indicates that 37% of children’s fatalities involved falling televisions, 34% involved both televisions and furniture, and 24% involved furniture such as a chest, dresser, or a bureau.
According to the latest data, approximately 38,000 emergency room visits occur each year as a result of a furniture tip-over injury, with 80% of those incidents involving children five years old and younger.
Of the 459 child deaths from falling furniture, 93% involved children under the age of five, and 55% of the incidents were caused by the weight of an unanchored television, piece of furniture or appliance falling on the child’s head alone, or in combination with another part of their body.
Children are most susceptible to tip-over accidents, due to their height and propensity to try to climb on a TV stand or dresser to reach remotes, gaming equipment, or toys. The CPSC recommends parents never leave remotes on dressers or anything that would entice a child to reach upward and pose a tip-over hazard.
The CPSC has indicated children six years old and under are the most likely to be crushed or trapped under falling furniture from reaching for items at the top of dressers, or television stands.
Each year the CPSC runs their “Anchor It!” campaign, which is 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 the CPSC’s annual efforts to inform consumers of the importance of anchoring furniture, a 2018 survey by Consumer Reports indicated only about 27% of consumers anchor furniture down in the home.
The survey, which involved more than 1,500 adults found many did not anchor furniture, televisions or appliances because they were confused by all of the different types of anchoring hardware, and indicate that it takes a level of skill to properly drill the devices into the walls.
Previous investigations have also shown the furniture industry’s voluntary standards for preventing tip-over problems are weak, and leave many children at risk of becoming trapped or crushed by unstable and unanchored pieces of furniture. Currently, there are no mandatory standards which furniture manufacturers must follow when designing furniture to help prevent them from tipping over, only recommended safety standards.