Is every piece of furniture in your home positioned in such a way that there’d be no danger of it tipping over? What about appliances? Or televisions? In 2011, 41 people reportedly died because one of the above tipped over onto an unsuspecting individual. This makes 2011 the deadliest year since at least 2000 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
And that doesn’t even encompass the injuries that occur on an annual basis; the CPSC figures that 43,000 such injuries take place every year, with 58% attributable to persons under the age of 18. Of overall injuries, just over half resulted from a toppled furniture item, while 62% of the fatalities that occur are the result of a television falling over.
Young children appear to be more at risk because they’re of a smaller stature than adults who might be able to better sustain the damage that a toppled item could cause. A child’s small body simply can’t compete with a unit weighing upwards of 100 pounds falling down. Body injuries and head injuries are both common among both child and adult victims, but it’s the head injuries that contribute to 57% of deaths.
The CPSC figures that many of the injuries related to televisions are the result of a family opting for a newer model. When families make this decision, they typically move the old, much heavier unit into a bedroom or some other place. Because there’s no room for an honest-to-goodness television stand, the television is placed on a dresser or some such unstable piece of furniture. That could be why 40% of injury incidents take place in bedrooms, compared with the 19% that take place in the living room.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks. The CPSC advises that individuals anchor every piece of furniture they have whenever possible. That extends to less obvious items such as kitchen ranges and stoves. In those cases, the units should have anti-tip brackets, but if they don’t, respond accordingly.
Make sure your television is placed on a suitable stand and anchor the unit near the upper part of this stand. If the television is going to be placed on some other item, make sure it’s pushed back as far as it could possibly go.
Finally, make sure to take extra precautions if young children reside in your home. Toys and even remotes that might prove tempting to curious kids should not be kept somewhere they’ll have to climb to get it. Climbing an item is a surefire way to create a tipping incident. Cables should also be kept out of reach. And if you go somewhere where these tips haven’t been taken into consideration, then keep a close watch on your kids.