Emergency Care For You

Prevent Tipping Furniture from Injuring or Killing Young Children

The nation’s emergency physicians handle tragic situations too often, but few things are more upsetting than the sudden death of a child — killed by a piece of a furniture, appliance or a television falling on them.

“It can happen in a matter of seconds probably in anyone’s home,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, of the the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Every parent or guardian of a young child should look around their homes and imagine what could tip over, fall off walls and injure a child. Imagining it is better than it becoming a reality.”

About 43,000 people annually were treated in emergency departments between 2009 and 2011 as a result of objects tipping over (such as televisions, dressers, file cabinets, large appliances,) according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sixty-percent of those emergency visits were from children. 294 children died in that time span –ranging from one-month to 8-years-old.

How to Prevent Injuries or Fatalities: 

  • Properly secure all furniture (especially with shelves, drawers and doors) to walls and remove furniture that is top-heavy and cannot be secured. Check with home improvement stores or child retail stores and ask experts what they recommend. 
  • Secure all computer monitors. 
  • Keep television and computer equipment low to the ground.
  • Do not place any objects on top of a television. 
  • Place heavy and often-used items low to the ground. 
  • Secure or remove artwork that could potentially fall and injure a child, like a sculpture or large painting. 
  • Secure appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and microwaves, from tipping over. 
  • If you have a mounted television, make sure it’s in a place that’s out or reach for a young child.
  • Put up safety gates to keep young children from rooms that have may have greater risks. 

“Telling a child not to touch or climb on something is not enough, said Dr. Rosenau. “You must take the first steps to prevent tragedy from happening in your home – by childproofing each room they are in.”