Tipped Furniture Can Be Deadly for Small Kids

Parents have been inured to the dangers presented by crib railings, poisonous cleaning products, and other household items that can be dangerous to small children. But few know that falling furniture kills and injures tens of thousands of kids each year.

FairWarning reported Aug. 9 that more than 23,000 people ended up in emergency rooms due to injuries from unstable furniture in 2010, with most of the victims being under 10 years old. Injuries from falling TV sets alone number in the tens of thousands each year in the U.S., according to some estimates.

Standards adopted in 2009 call for furniture to remain stable with all drawers open and a 50-pound weight — equivalent to that of a small child — pressing on the front of a drawer. Chests and drawers also are supposed to have tip restraints that can be attached to walls.

Those standards don’t apply to older furniture, however, and many manufacturers simply ignore the voluntary guidelines.

Even a small piece can be deadly to a child. One two-year-old, for example, choked to death after being trapped under a dresser that was just 30 inches tall.

To prevent a tragedy, secure your furniture to a nearby wall to prevent tipping, and avoid placing heavy items like TV sets on furniture that is not sturdy enough to support the weight or wide enough to accommodate the size.

(Photo © JMacPherson via Flickr)