You don’t have to be a parent to know that when a baby comes along, you should put those plastic things in the electrical outlets and child-proof cupboards that contain hazardous materials. Less well known, however, is that furniture can be a serious hazard to toddlers who love to climb.
Earlier this year, NBC News posted a horrifying video of two Utah toddlers doing just that. The outcome for those two little ones wasn’t disastrous, but it has been for more than 40 children in the last 27 years, foxnews.com. Of those children, six were killed when furniture toppled over on them, trapping them underneath.
In fact, the federal government claims that “Every 24 minutes, tipped furniture or a falling TV sends an injured child to the emergency room.”
And last June, you may remember that Swedish retailer Ikea recalled 29 million chests and dressers which, if not anchored to a wall, pose “a tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children.”
Fortunately for parents, preventing furniture from tipping over is easy and inexpensive.
Secure the TVs
When a child wants to see his or her favorite show, they will stop at nothing to turn on the TV. This can include using the drawers of the TV stand as a ladder. Experts at www.anchorit.gov say you should use sturdy furniture to hold the CRT TV or, even better, something that sits low to the floor so the child won’t need to climb to reach the power button. Flat-screen TVs should be mounted to the wall securely.
If you must keep the TV up high, anchor it to the wall to prevent it from tipping and falling.
If there’s a chance your toddler will climb it, it should be securely anchored to a wall stud. This includes all bookcases, dressers, appliances, and anything else you think your little one might climb. You can purchase furniture anchors and restraints at large hardware retailers, baby supply stores (such as Babies”R”Us), and at big-box department stores. If you are anchoring Ikea furniture, the retailer offers anchor kits free of charge.
Safety experts warn against using plastic cable ties because they can degrade over time and aren’t quite as strong as one might think. Use angle braces, such as those used for earthquake safety.
Another tip? Don’t skimp on the number of braces used. Use at least two for each appliance or piece of furniture, and install them into a thick, solid piece of wood near the top of the item and then into a wall stud. Ikea offers a “wall anchoring guide” on its website.
Check the restraints on a monthly basis to make sure they are still tight.
Busy moms and dads know how easy it is to pick up a mislaid toy and stick it on top of the TV or other piece of tall furniture until it can be put away later. It takes just seconds for a toddler to notice that treasured toy, become curious, and start climbing to reclaim it. Avoid the temptation; put items away if you think they’ll cause curiosity, or if they’re a toy, put it at kid level.
Hide electrical cords or place them out of the reach of your children.
Kids love to explore and, with just a few dollars and a half hour of your time, they can do so safely in the home.
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