Secure furniture

Tip-over incidents are preventable.

Parents go to great lengths to protect their children. Much of those efforts may be directed at potential threats outside the home, but it’s equally important that parents prioritize safety inside their homes as well.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child in the United States is injured in a television or furniture tip-over incident about 43 minutes. Tip-over incidents are preventable, and the CPSC offers the following tips to protect children.

- Use sturdy furniture. When choosing furniture to hold a television, be sure to read product descriptions to ensure you’re only buying furniture designed to hold a television. Items described as “television stands” or “media centers” are designed to hold televisions, but size and weight restrictions also must be considered when buying such products. TV stands and media centers are only safe if they are designed to hold televisions that are the size of your TV.

- Secure the television. The CPSC recommends that all televisions be secured by mounting or anchoring them to the wall. Properly mounted televisions likely won’t come off the wall no matter how curious kids are, but no item should be lower than 27 inches from the ground. Parents who can’t or don’t want to mount their televisions can purchases anchoring kits, which the CPSC notes cost as little as $5 and take as few as five minutes to install. Parents hesitant to do the job themselves can have televisions mounted or anchored by professional installers for a nominal fee. Many electronics retailers offer installation services as well.

- Secure top-heavy furniture. Top-heavy furniture also should be secured to prevent tip-overs. Anti-tip brackets are inexpensive and can be used to secure dressers, bookshelves and other pieces that pose a threat to curious youngsters. Anchoring furniture secures items to the wall, and the CPSC notes that a lot of newly built furniture is sold with anti-tip devices. These devices should be installed immediately so children are safe from the moment a new piece is brought into the home.

- Remove tempting objects. Curious kids may try to climb furniture if they see toys, remote controls or other enticing items on top of televisions, dressers or bookshelves. Keep such items low or stored in low drawers to remove the temptation to climb.

Tip-over incidents are deadly but preventable. Parents who recognize this threat to their youngsters’ safety can ensure that their homes remain safe environments for curious kids.