It's a tragedy that's surprisingly common. A child reaching for something as mundane as a juice box pulls a heavy television over, is caught underneath, and loses his life.
This terrible accident happened in a Chicago suburb just days ago but, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), it's just the latest of this type of incident. The CPSC reports that children are seriously injured or killed in "tip-over" accidents involving TVs, furniture and even appliances about once every two weeks.
Each year, "tip-over" accidents account for nearly 22,000 injuries in children under age 8, the CPSC reports. Most involve TVs, including lighter flat screen models, placed on a piece of furniture such as a chest, dresser or stand.
The saddest element of this story is that these accidents are nearly 100 percent preventable with a simple TV safety device. Furniture anchors and TV straps capable of supporting hundreds of pounds are available in many home improvement and baby stores, and are readily found online.
Furniture anchors and TV strap childproofing devices are inexpensive, costing between $6 to $18, and are easily installed with strong adhesives, screws or a combination of the two.
Installed on both the TV and the furniture it's sitting on, furniture anchors and TV straps dramatically reduce the most common accidents - TVs tipping off unstable furniture.
TVs aren't the only tipping hazard parents should be aware of in the home. Here are a few tips to help prevent injuries from similar dangers.
- Children are often tempted to climb tall bookshelves or use dresser drawers as steps. These heavy pieces are very prone to tip, so install furniture anchors to prevent injuries.
- On tall two-part furniture pieces such as china cabinets, secure the top section to the wall, not just to the base.
- Be sure freestanding ranges and front-load dryers are secured to the wall or surrounding cabinetry. Children can open and climb onto the door, causing the appliance to tilt or topple. An appliance lock securing the door closed adds another degree of safety.
- Whenever possible, mount flat screen TVs to the wall using mounting brackets.
- Keep a close eye on children when traveling to friends and relatives homes where furniture and TVs are likely to be unsecure