Illinois public safety educators informed NFPA that four young children in the Chicago area since October of 2011 had died after being struck by falling televisions. According the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “on average, one child dies every two weeks when a TV, piece of furniture, or an appliance falls on them [sic].” Health Canada says that children between the ages of one and three are the victims of more than 70% of reported television tip-over incidents in Canada.
Deaths and injuries from this type of incident appear to be on the rise, according to Dr. Gary Smith, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance in Columbus, Ohio. Smith suggests that parents may be placing new flat screen TV’s in areas that children can easily reach and that they may be placing the older, heavier televisions the flat screen TVs replace on dressers in bedrooms, making them very easy to knock over.
Below are some tips from the CPSC and Health Canada on preventing television and furniture tip-overs:
*Supervise young children and teach them not to climb on furniture. Remind them to stay away from televisions.
*Place televisions on wide, sturdy, low stands or bases that sit directly on the floor. Furniture with legs is less stable. Place the televisions as far back on the stands and close to the wall as possible.
*Attach tall furniture and televisions to the wall using safety straps, anchors, or angle braces. These items often come with new televisions or furniture, or they can be purchased from a hardware store.
*Avoid placing televisions on dressers. Children can easily use the drawers as steps, causing the dresser or television to topple over.
*Keep toys, remote controls, and other items of interest to children away from the television or on tall furniture.