1000 SW Jackson
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)
NHTSA Region VII
Dennis Cooley, MD
American Academy of
SAFE KIDS Coalition
Kansas Safety Belt
Fire Marshal's Office
3,000 Toddlers Per Year Injured by TVs Tipping Over
Safe Kids Kansas Urges Parents to Anchor Unstable Furniture
Parents Also Cautioned About Confined Spaces
Each year, nationwide, an estimated 3,000 children ages 5 and under go to the emergency room with injuries caused by TV sets falling or tipping over, and at least 100 people — mostly young children — have been killed since 2000 by falling TVs or other furniture, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Kids try to climb and reach the controls on a TV, or they pull on hanging cords, and they can pull a TV off a stand or pull the stand itself down on top of themselves,” explained Jan Stegelman, coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. “In some cases, kids have been fatally crushed this way, and even nonfatal injuries to the head and neck can be devastating.”
Safe Kids Kansas recommends these precautions to prevent furniture tipovers:
Make sure TV stands, tables, dressers and other pieces of furniture are stable and not top-heavy. Drawers and shelves should be loaded with heavier contents near the bottom and less weight near the top.
Furniture that kids might be tempted to climb on — such as bookcases, dressers or anything holding electronics — should be anchored to a wall or floor with angle brackets.
Tie electrical cords out of reach of children.
Don’t keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables.
In response to several child fatalities from furniture-related head injuries, Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), James McGovern (D-Mass.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) introduced legislation in the 109th Congress to require that any furniture in danger of tipping over carry a warning label and be sold with anchoring devices and instructions. The legislation will most likely be reintroduced in the 110th Congress.
Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine; there are also at least 45 known cases since 1975 in which a child has been trapped and strangled under the lid of a toy chest. Always supervise children around any confined space and keep the doors closed and locked.
Toy chests that meet voluntary standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are equipped with lid supports that hold the lid open in any position. The standards also call for ventilation holes to prevent suffocation. “If you have a toy chest with a lid that doesn’t stay open, the CPSC recommends you remove the lid or install a spring-loaded lid support,” said Stegelman.
“These are not hazards that kill thousands of children every year, like vehicle crashes or drowning, but they are so easy to prevent and the consequences can be so severe,” said Stegelman. “Don’t underestimate the possibility of a small child being crushed by unsteady furniture.”
For more information about home safety and childproofing, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.